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Woman convicted of bribing judge to influence child custody case

Many parents in Washington state know the frustration of having the court rule against them in a child custody case. But few would consider trying to criminally "own" a judge to try to secure more favorable rulings.

That is what a jury in another state found a woman did by giving a judicial candidate $150,000 in illicit campaign donations. Jurors convicted the woman of bribery, money laundering and engaging in organized crime on June 27. They agreed with prosecutors that the woman was bribing the candidate, who was elected, in order to get the judge to change the child custody arrangement her husband had with his former wife.

During trial, prosecutors said that the defendant made a series of payments to the judge's campaign manager, who deposited the $150,000 into his personal bank account and used the money for campaign expenses.

As it turned out, the judge never made a ruling on the husband's child custody case. She recused herself from the case due to preexisting relationships with some of the attorneys involved. She was later convicted in connection with the bribery scheme and resigned from the bench.

Defense attorneys contended that the money was paid to the campaign manager for consulting work. But jurors found that the defendant had broken the law. Sentencing is scheduled for later this year.

It goes without saying that corruption schemes like this one are no way to solve your child custody problems. Hiring a capable family law attorney is the best way to reach a solution both sides can live with.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Jury convicts woman of bribing former judge in Collin County," Valerie Wigglesworth, June 27, 2012

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