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SACRAMENTO — A longtime Yuba County judge was formally charged Monday with violating judicial ethics by allegedly interfering with traffic citations that had been issued to family members and friends. Judge David Wasilenko, 56, is one of five judges in the rural county, which is located about 40 miles north of Sacramento. According to charges filed by the Commission on Judicial Performance, Wasilenko committed numerous violations of the Code of Judicial Ethics between 1999 and 2002 by intervening in pending tickets issued to eight different people. The CJP charges describe several incidents where Wasilenko allegedly met in his chambers with the people who had received the tickets and then called for their files when he had no legitimate reason to oversee their cases. He granted a request to go to traffic school to the wife of his first cousin, granted community service instead of a fine to his daughter’s friend, and interfered with the cases of minors who had received misdemeanor tickets for open containers of alcohol in a moving vehicle, according to the CJP charges. Wasilenko’s attorney, James Murphy of San Francisco’s Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney, said the judge did not “fix” the tickets by dismissing them outright. Rather, he simply handled them “in an informal manner.” “Appropriate fines and penalties were imposed on people who came before him,” Murphy said. Although the CJP would not discuss how it became aware of the allegations against Wasilenko, Murphy said documents provided to him indicated that court clerks complained about the judge’s practices. Wasilenko was elected to the bench in 1984 after serving as deputy county counsel for two years. Before that, he was in private practice. He performs a variety of assignments, including family law, misdemeanor jury trials and drug court. The judge has until June 23 to answer the charges.

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