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VIDEO: Snohomish County judge avoids DUI charge

A judge stopped for speeding and erratic driving near Mill Creek in August will not face a drunken driving charge.

Snohomish County District Court Judge Timothy Ryan was arrested for DUI after a Washington State Patrol trooper determined he had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol.

The judge told the trooper he “had a beer” with fellow judge Roger Fisher and his wife.

After Judge Ryan refused field sobriety tests and a breathalyzer, the trooper placed him under arrest for DUI, but told him it was “not an easy decision to make.”

“I have tons of respect for you,” the trooper said. “I’m going to spare you, I’m not going to handcuff you.”

The case was turned over the King County Prosecutor’s Office to avoid a conflict of interest.

On Oct. 25, Deputy Prosecutor Erin Norgaard declined to file charges against Judge Ryan. In writing her decision, Norgaard said the case would be difficult to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” given the lack of evidence.

According to court documents, Judge Roger Fisher was indeed with Judge Ryan that night and would testify that his friend was not impaired, but had only two glasses of wine.

The prosecutor wrote that the testimony would help Judge Ryan “most significantly.”

State law calls for an automatic license suspension if a driver refuses to submit to sobriety tests. The judge has asked for an appeal hearing to challenge the suspension.

KIRO Radio Reporter Brandi Kruse contributed to this report.

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