[Swanberg's] behavior toward his former girlfriend, Sila Salas, is enough to make citizens question Swanberg’s judgment. Her job is in the Benton County Justice Center where Swanberg also works, and now he is not allowed to be within 25 feet of her workplace. ...[I]t isn’t fair to expect citizens to go before a judge who is under such a heavy cloud of doubt.
This guy is a total piece of... work. He needs to resign immediately and everyone here should demand it. These allegations are far more than anything Sam can overcome to remain a trustworthy Judge. ...
RESIGN immediately Sam Swanberg.
Swanberg should have known better than to start a relationship with a subordinate in the workplace. That he continued to confront her at work, overwhelm her with texts, emails and voice messages and ignored her pleas to leave her alone is clearly behavior unbecoming of a judge.
A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.
"[A] litigant who exercises the statutory right afforded by §4.12.050 may obtain a change of judge without regard to whether the bias alleged is real.... Once the requisite motion and affidavit have been seasonably filed, prejudice is deemed established, and the judge must step down."