Eastern Washington Judge Arrested on Suspicion of Drunk Driving — and It Isn't the First Time


A Tri-Cities judge was arrested Monday night on suspicion of drunk driving, and it's not the first time.

Judge Terry M. Tanner Jr. made an initial court appearance on Tuesday on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

He appeared before Benton Franklin Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Shea Brown, according to the Benton County District Court administrator.

A Richland Police Department public information officer said information about the arrest was not available without a public records request. The Herald filed the request with the city and District Court officials and have yet to receive the information.

Tanner's next hearing is set for Jan. 25.

Tanner, who's been a judge of 13 years, could not be reached by the Herald about his arrest.

Benton County sheriff's officials confirmed he was booked into the jail at 8:14 p.m. Monday and was released at 10:46 a.m. Tuesday after posting a $5,000 bond.

Previously, Tanner was reprimanded by the Washington state Commission on Judicial Conduct after he was arrested in 2018 for DUI involving a wreck, according to Herald reports at the time.

At that time in March 2018, Tanner initially claimed he had been checking his mail when he was found hiding behind a cluster of mailboxes.

Tanner later told a sheriff's deputy he had no memory of crashing his sedan on his way home from a Kennewick bar.

In April 2018 he pleaded guilty to one gross misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence.

That case was moved to Yakima County District Court to prevent any conflict within Tanner's own court or with the prosecutors who regularly come before him, according to Herald archives.

It's unclear whether he is still on probation from that case. At the time he was sentenced to 364 days in county jail with 363 days suspended. The one day was converted to 15 days on electronic home monitoring.

He also was put on supervision for five years, with the option to petition to have that terminated after two years if he completed the probation requirements and stays out of trouble in that time.

His driver's license also was suspended for one year.

Tanner is a former Richland city councilman and was appointed to the District Court in 2009. He was last reelected in 2022 when he ran unopposed.