Special Reports

Crystal's family rejects King County judge

The Crystal Brame wrongful deal lawsuit lost another judge Friday.

Paul Luvera, attorney for Crystal Brame's family, rejected King County Superior Court Judge Greg Canova, who had been randomly assigned to the case.

"Judge Canova is a very accomplished and respected jurist," Luvera said in a press release. "It is his work as the lead prosecutor at the attorney general office and that position's involvement with law enforcement that concerns the family. .... The family simply believes it is in their best interests to have someone with a more neutral background in that critical area."

Luvera exercised his one opportunity, called an affidavit, to refuse a judge without giving a reason. He said he had done things the right way, unlike city attorneys who asked a previous judge to recuse himself.

Tim Gosselin, attorney for the City of Tacoma, said he had done everything right, as well. He said Canova would have been fine with him.

"He has a good trial background," Gosselin said. "He had worked for a long period of time as a prosecutor and as an assistant attorney general. It appeared he had experience in complicated cases."

Canova recently settled a key part of the ongoing dispute between The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer over their joint operating agreement.

The lawsuit stems from Tacoma Police Chief David Brame's fatal shooting of his wife, Crystal, and himself April 26, 2003.

In addition to Tacoma, Crystal Brame's family also is suing Pierce County, former City Manager Ray Corpuz, Mayor Bill Baarsma and former assistant police chief Catherine Woodard.

The lawsuit claims they caused Crystal Brame's death by giving David Brame power and a weapon and then not watching him.

Luvera first filed the case in Pierce County, but eight judges in the county recused themselves or said they would, while another four were unable to hear the case because of other assignments. Luvera then withdrew the Pierce County suit and refiled in King County.

King County Judge Jay White recused himself from the case last week.

Karen Hucks: 253-597-8660