King County prosecutors will not press charges against a Snohomish County judge arrested for driving under the influence.
Judge Timothy Ryan was picked up two months ago by a state trooper known for his expertise in catching drunk drivers, but prosecutors said they didn't have enough evidence to charge him.
Ryan was driving home just after 9 p.m. from the Mill Creek Country Club on August 29th when a state trooper’s dash-cam captured him swerving three times, and doing 53 mph in a 45 mph zone. The trooper said he smelled alcohol and asked for Ryan's registration and insurance. At one point the judge asked the trooper his name and then said, “I’m Judge Ryan. I was kinda curious.”
Judge Tim Ryan is a respected magistrate in South Snohomish County, often handling DUI cases himself. The case was moved to King County to avoid any conflict of interest.
Ryan refused both a breathalyzer and field sobriety tests. He told the trooper he had consumed one beer with fellow judge Roger Fisher. When questioned, Judge Fisher told investigators Ryan had actually been drinking wine, and had two glasses over a three hour period.
Prosecutors decided that two glasses in three hours would still have kept Ryan under the legal limit. That, coupled with the fact that there were no sobriety tests, meant prosecutors had little evidence to work with.
The King County Prosecutor’s office would not comment on the case, but in court documents explaining the decision not to charge Ryan, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Erin Norgaard wrote: "Although Judge Ryan lied to the trooper about the type and quantity of alcohol he consumed, the amount of alcohol that he did consume...is still insufficient to prove impairment under the circumstances in this case."
The judge remains on leave from the court, but could be back on the bench soon. He could still face a driver’s license suspension of one year.