Friday, July 5, 2002
Nancy Brown Reassigned to Alhambra After Complaints From Lawyers
By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Nancy Brown has been removed from her juvenile dependency court assignment in Monterey Park after complaints from lawyers who practice there.
Brown was reassigned to the Alhambra courthouse effective July 1. Presiding Judge James Bascue said through a court spokesman that he took the action “for the betterment of the court.”
Brown was unavailable for comment.
Lawyers for Dependency Court Legal Services, which represents foster children in dependency proceedings, began filing affidavits of prejudice under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 170.6 against Brown earlier this year, according to court papers and sources familiar with the court.
DCLS lawyers said it was their intention to continue filing “blanket affidavits” against Brown, according to sources.
The affidavits, and opposing papers filed by counsel for other parties, were filed in cases in which the court files were sealed under law. DCLS representatives declined comment.
It is not the first time that Brown, 66, has become the subject of controversy. The Commission on Judicial Performance brought her up on charges in 1998 arising from her banning a court administrator from her courtroom, arranging a marriage ceremony for convicted parent-killer Lyle Menendez, and having an artificial marijuana plant in her courtroom.
The commission publicly reproved Brown for disrupting court efficiency by barring former criminal court coordinator John Iverson from her courtroom, but declined to take action on the marriage or fake plant charges. The panel also declined to take action on charges that Brown smoked in her chambers in violation of state law, finding that she stopped doing so before proceedings began.
Brown’s planned ceremony for Menendez was halted by Judge John Reid, then the criminal courts supervisor, who rescinded her order that the killer and his brother, Erik Menendez—also convicted in the slaying of their parents—be transported from prison to her courtroom for the wedding.
Reid took the action while Brown was on vacation.
At the commission hearings, Bascue testified against Brown, saying she disrupted the court with her conflicts with Iverson.
He also testified that Brown was unhappy with her transfer from a long-cause criminal courtroom to handle the increased workload caused by implementation of the three strikes law.
“She [Brown] was angry and upset about the transfer,” Bascue said in 1999, “and seemed willing to do anything to prevent it.”
Brown’s new assignment is to Dept. T, in Alhambra, where she is to handle overflow civil and criminal trials, mostly from Pasadena, court spokesman Kyle Christopherson said.
Brown began her bench career in the Alhambra courthouse in 1969 as an Alhambra Municipal Court commissioner. She became a Los Angeles Municipal Court commissioner in 1973 and was appointed a judge of that court in 1976 by Gov. Jerry Brown. She was appointed to the Superior Court in 1984 by Gov. George Deukmejian.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company