Dori: King Co Judge releases third dangerous suspect, despite Prosecutor’s pleas this week
Apr 1, 2022, 5:10 PM | Updated: Apr 2, 2022, 2:54 pm
(Flickr Creative Commons)
For the third time in less than a week, the Dori Monson Show has learned, King County District Court Judge Pro Tem Justin Walsh has ignored prosecutor’s objections and released a criminal suspect. In this case, prosecutors considered the defendant so dangerous that they rush-filed their case.
Shawn Cantrell Bowser, 43, prosecutors told Walsh, was found moments after the car he acknowledged driving rear-ended a Toyota in Kent. The victim, Ricardo Ruiz Corona, 54, was “trapped and twisted in his vehicle,” according to police reports. With spinal fractures and a vascular tear in his neck, Corona was left comatose and in critical condition after the mid-day collision. His injuries are so severe that if he survives, he is expected to be a quadriplegic, according to documents from the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Reading from the charging papers, Dori told listeners that witnesses to the collision report “both the defendant and a passenger were seen tossing items over the guardrail.” When Kent police arrived on the scene, they found a bottle of vodka and a loaded 9-mm handgun in the defendant’s pocket.
Bowser, also known as Shaun Bowser, has a criminal history dating back to 1995, including cases involving theft, two DUIs, and unlawful firearms possession. In 2020, he pleaded guilty to reckless driving after racing two other vehicles at speeds of up to 129 mph on Interstate 5.
In this case, prosecutors charged him with vehicular assault, reckless driving and first-degree unlawful firearms possession, documents show.
Similar to Walsh’s earlier cases from this week, the King County Prosecutor’s Office sought $100,000 bail for the suspect. And, identical to his handling of the two earlier cases, Walsh ignored this recommendation and let Bowser walk.
Why are judges doing this?
With insights from respected, retired judges and others in the law enforcement community – and a tipster who shared Walsh’s private Facebook account – Dori got some answers.
According to a confidential source and show listener, Walsh wants to go from a temporary judge to a full-time one. The listener shared a screengrab from Walsh’s social media post after he started getting heat this week for his soft-on-crime rulings:
“Learning the hard way that the right decision is not always the popular one. Hats off to my judicial peeps who do this full time (as I plan to do in the hopefully near future.) Can we say Social Media lockdown? Good, I knew you could,” Walsh’s post reveals.
But getting an appointment to the bench and keeping it requires voters to re-elect a judge. How does that happen when some bench verdicts and sentences are questionable? Dori wondered.
Well-respected jurists tell Dori that every year – right before elections – lawyers in the King County Bar Association are invited to rate judges on the Judicial Evaluation Survey. Last year, 18 percent of attorneys responded. The vast majority were defense attorneys because defense lawyers far outnumber any other kind of attorney. High ratings are prized by judge candidates when they post to the King County Voters Guide.
And what do criminal defense attorneys like in their judges? Ones that let their clients go free.
Just like Blake L. Kirvin, 31, released by Walsh after ignoring a bail request for a March 27 Federal Way case. That’s where Kirvin is accused of threatening an innocent witness with a handgun. When apprehended, Kirvin – who three days earlier had been released from prison on a firearms sentence – was found in a car with 12 grams of cocaine, 190 amphetamine tablets, another firearm, and three children, ages 2, 4 and 11 years. (Federal agents later took Kirvin into custody after learning of his release).
And like the “out of his mind” intruder who broke into a Seattle man’s Georgetown neighborhood house last weekend. On Wednesday, the homeowner told Dori that despite struggling with the “wiry” intruder, the invader started scrambling up the stairs to where the man’s wife and son were seeking safety. Neighbors jumped in to help drag the suspect outside. When police arrived, the home intruder was trying to break into a home down the street. Walsh released him, too.
“Justin Walsh says he wants to be a full-time judge,” Dori told his listeners. “Well, this is a pathway to it.”
Hear Dori’s entire take on the series of criminals released by local judges and why it’s happening here:
Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.