Equal justice for Seattle lawyer accused of several rapes?
Has accused serial rapist Danford Grant gotten preferential treatment because both he and his wife are Seattle attorneys?
Grant’s wife, Jennifer, has her own trouble. She allegedly hid her husband’s car after he was arrested and named a suspect in a string of rapes in Bellevue and North Seattle.
Court documents indicate police thought packets of condoms and a knife could be inside Grant’s vehicle – a Honda Pilot.
The vehicle was moved from a Greenwood massage clinic to a busy corner in Wedgwood, more than a mile from the family home.
An attorney for the Grants, Richard Hansen, says the car was moved three days after her husband’s arrest in September because she was being “hounded by the media.” The vehicle sat for three weeks before investigators had access to it.
Police are now processing the evidence seized from the vehicle, including Danford Grant’s laptop.
Hansen tells KING 5 News moving the car was “a misunderstanding.” He says it was not intentional.
In order to prove tampering with evidence, prosecutors would have to show there was intent to “conceal or remove” evidence with intent to impair its availability.
Under Washington’s legal code that’s a gross misdemeanor, which means any charges could come from the Seattle City Attorney’s office – the office where Jennifer Grant works.
The Seattle City Attorney’s Office released a statement:
“As a result of the information that recently came to light, Supervising Assistant City Prosecutor Jennifer Grant has been reassigned to responsibilities that do not entail courtroom prosecutorial work.
Although there has been absolutely no indication of an active criminal investigation, we felt it prudent to temporarily reassign her duties. It is extremely important that we continue to maintain the appearance of integrity here at the Seattle City Attorney’s Office.”
The King County Prosecutor’s office also says Jennifer Grant is “not under investigation at this time” for obstruction or other possible charges related to the case.
Questions have also been raised about a relationship between Jennifer Grant and the judge who lowered her husband’s bail from $3 million to $1 million. Judge Mary Yu let Grant out of jail on a home detention, with several conditions.
“There was no personal connection with Judge Yu and the individual involved (Mrs. Grant),” says Paul Sherfey, chief administrative officer for King County Superior Court.
“In this case the defendant has strong community support. The defendant’s mother pledged some significant assets. There was submission of his passport to the defendant’s lawyer and there is electronic home detention supervised by jail corrections staff,” says Sherfey.
“All those things get weighed in terms of what an appropriate amount should be and all cases are considered under those same rules.”
Sherfey says Judge Yu and Grant were both involved with several of the same professional organizations.
Judges are expected to be involved in professional organizations that promote implementation of justice and access to justice issues.
Although Sherfey admits the legal community in Seattle is a “small world,” he says there was no favoritism in the judge’s treatment of Grant.
By LINDA THOMAS