Yakima County judge to oversee Gallina case

·2 min read

Aug. 5—ASOTIN — A new judge has been appointed to oversee the Scott D. Gallina trial in Asotin County.

State court officials said Yakima County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Swan will now be handling the case, but a new trial date has not been set.

Gallina, 57, is a former Superior Court judge who served in Asotin, Columbia and Garfield counties for five years before being arrested in 2019. He is accused of sexual misconduct in the workplace, including a second-degree rape charge and indecent liberties with sexual motivation, which are both Class A felonies, and four counts of third-degree assault.

Throughout the proceedings, Gallina has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded innocent to all charges. He was supposed to go on trial next week in Asotin County.

To date, no jury summons have been issued, and the lengthy trial is not on the calendar in Asotin County, where it will be conducted. The Washington state Administrative Office of the Courts was tasked with finding a new judge after a Walla Walla County judge recused himself, and Swan was appointed Wednesday.

Gallina's trial has been bumped numerous times over the last two years, and Swan, who was elected to the bench in November, is the fifth judge who has been given the high-profile case.

The arraignment and several hearings were first handled by Spokane County Judge Michael Price. After a new judge was elected in Asotin County last year, Price sent the case to Superior Court Judge Brooke Burns, who recused herself because she and the former judge had worked together.

Gallina requested a new judge after Walla Walla County Judge M. Scott Wolfram agreed to take over, and it was then assigned to Walla Walla County Judge Brandon Johnson, who stepped down after handling a trial in Asotin County this spring and meeting some of the witnesses.

Previous trial dates for Gallina were continued at the request of the defense, twice by agreement of both parties and once by the Spokane judge, shortly after the pandemic hit the region.

Gallina, who lives in Clarkston, is no longer on the county or state payrolls and remains out of custody on bond. He is represented by Spokane attorneys Carl Oreskovich and Andrew Wagley. The attorney general's office is represented by Seattle attorneys Melanie Tratnik and Sean Waite.

Sandaine may be contacted at kerris@lmtribune.com. Follow her on Twitter @newsfromkerri.

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