SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — A grand jury issued a secret indictment Wednesday against a sitting Marion County judge who originally made headlines in 2015 for refusing to perform same-sex weddings, KOIN 6 News learned.
Judge Vance Day is accused of twice helping a felon get a firearm, the indictment unsealed on Thursday shows.
According to prosecutors, between November-December 2013 and January 1-12, 2014, Day intended to “facilitate the commission of a crime of felon in possession of a firearm.” He is accused of breaking the law in an effort to “aid and abet the unlawful possession and control of a firearm by Brian Shehan, who previously had been convicted of a felony.”
Day is also charged with 2 counts of official misconduct, court records show.
“This is the first time in my recollection that a sitting judge has been indicted,” Oregon Judicial Department spokesman Phil Lemman said. “This is an extraordinary occurrence.”
According to a release agreement signed by a separate judge, Day has been ordered not to consume alcohol and to stay out of bars and taverns. He is allowed to travel outside of Oregon.
Marion County Circuit Court’s website still lists Day as a sitting judge, although Lemman said he has been assigned to do “special projects” from home.
The controversial judge made international headlines in September 2015 when he refused to perform same-sex weddings.
A state judicial panel recommended Day be removed from his position in January, following an investigation into claims he had acted unethically.
In addition to refusing to perform same-sex weddings and allowing a convicted felon to handle a gun, Day has been accused of soliciting money from lawyers appearing before him, lying under oath and using his position for personal gain.
The case will be prosecuted through Marion County via the Oregon Department of Justice, but will be overseen by Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Julie E. Frantz.
Day is represented by Michael Paul De Muniz, who issued this statement:
“We have been aware of the Attorney General’s investigation for several months and cooperated with every stage of the process. We are extremely disappointed in the Attorney General’s decision to pursue these charges. Judge Day is innocent and is looking forward to defending himself at trial before a jury of his peers.” – Michael Paul De Muniz