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Key Witness Against Christian Judge Vance Day Has Credibility Problems

The State of Oregon has Christian Judge Vance Day in its sights, hitting him with both felony charges in criminal court and a complaint at the Commission on Judicial Fitness and Disability. This after Judge Day privately arranged to have potential applicants apply to other judges to have same-sex marriage services performed, in an attempt to keep true to his Christian faith.

Now, the prosecution's star witness in the criminal case finds his credibility in question over a sexual relationship he had with Judge Day’s court clerk. Incidentally, that clerk has also made claims of workplace sexual harassment against Day that have since been proven false.

Vance Day presides over the Veteran’s Treatment Court, which routes veterans charged with non-violent crimes into specific programs for substance abuse or mental health treatment. The standards for this court vary from the normal courtroom, owing to the specific needs of veterans who have come in contact with the legal system. According to the VA website,

In recent years, programs have been developed to keep war Veterans with mental health problems from being put in jail or prison. The programs aim to assist Veterans who become involved in the justice system to get treatment for mental health problems that may exist. This includes the numbers of Veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Each Veterans Treatment Court is part of a community's justice system. Veterans Treatment Courts often partner with local VAs and Veterans' organizations. Since the first Veterans Treatment Court in 2008, the number of courts has been growing fast. By August, 2010, there were 41 Veterans Treatment Courts in the United States.

Brian Sheehan is a Navy Seal who appeared in Judge Day’s court after being arrested for felony DUI. Court records show that Sheehan appeared multiple times in Day’s court, and in fact spent time with Day outside of the court. In the course of investigating Day for the Judicial Fitness Commission, state officials found evidence they say indicates that Day allowed Sheehan to handle weapons on Day’s property while Sheehan was a convicted felon. Sheehan’s charges were subsequently reduced to misdemeanors after he completed court-imposed treatment.

The Oregon Attorney General’s Office filed felony complaints against Day for aiding and abetting a felon in possession of a firearm. The state’s case relies almost exclusively on Sheehan’s testimony.

In a Motion to Supplement Record filed on October 26, 2017, Day’s attorneys submitted the following statement:

As this Court is well aware, the credibility of witnesses is significant to the decision on the Court’s de novo review of this matter. The proposed exhibits reflect the disclosure by the Oregon DOJ counsel prosecuting Judge Day in the criminal case that Megan Curry, a significant witness in this Judicial Fitness Commission matter, initially lied to the prosecution about her relationship with BAS [Brian Sheehan, referred to only by his initials in many filings] in an interview in the presence of her own lawyer. Specifically, she initially denied that she and BAS were anything more than friends, but only later disclosed the truth, that she had a sexual relationship with BAS. (Proposed Ex. 659.)

Of course, BAS is another important witness in the Judicial Fitness Commission matter whose credibility is at issue. The fact that these two witnesses, Megan Curry, Judge Day’s judicial clerk, and BAS, a felon on probation and appearing regularly before Judge Day in the court where Ms. Curry worked, had a sexual relationship, and the fact that Ms. Curry lied about it in her initial conversations with the Department of Justice attorneys in the presence of her own attorney, is important evidence for this court to consider in determining the credibility of the witnesses and in making its decision.