Friday, March 12, 2004
C.A. Orders New Hearing on Harassment Claim Against Judge Kaddo
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
The Court of Appeal for this district has ordered a new hearing on a complaint charging Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Kaddo with harassing his daughter’s boyfriend.
The mutual restraining orders issued by Orange Superior Court Judge John Watson, who was specially assigned by Chief Justice Ronald M. George to hear the dispute between Kaddo and Fadi Nora, are invalid, Justice Laurie Zelon wrote for Div. Seven.
Watson, the justice said, erred in not taking testimony and in making the orders under Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 527.6 mutual even though Kaddo never filed a cross-complaint.
“The procedure adopted by the trial court deprived both parties of their rights in this matter,” Zelon wrote. “Nora was not given the full opportunity to present his case, and Kaddo was deprived of his right to defend.”
The potential consequences of a restraining order, violation of which is a misdemeanor, require that any person who might be bound by it be given notice and an opportunity to present evidence, Zelon explained.
Nora sought the order two years ago, asking the court to bar Kaddo from coming within 150 yards of him, his home, his car or workplace. Kaddo, he declared, had been harassing and threatening him for two years and had testified at a custody hearing that he would kill Nora rather than allow him near the judge’s grandchildren.
Nora also made a number of what Kaddo’s attorney, Theodore Cohen, called “crazy allegations,” including a claim that the Lebanese-born Kaddo is tied to the terrorist group Hezbollah.
Cohen noted that he is Jewish and that Kaddo is Catholic.
Nora and Kaddo both have said they were friends for years, but the friendship ended when Nora began dating one of the judge’s daughters, Nadia Yammine.
The April 2002 hearing was on an effort by Yammine to overturn a stipulation allowing her ex-husband to raise their three children in Lebanon. The bid was denied.
Nora filed complaints with the District Attorney’s Office and the Commission on Judicial Performance, saying Kaddo had threatened him. Prosecutors rejected the case after investigators determined that the statement, which Kaddo has said he regrets having made, was an anguished response to the domestic situation and not intended as an actual threat.
Nora’s attorney, Richard Gilbert of Santa Ana, said his client has not heard from the CJP as to what action, if any, it will take. Edward George, who represents Kaddo in connection with the complaint, said he doesn’t “have a clue” as to what the commission will do.
Kaddo, who could not be reached for comment, has been a judge since 1991, when was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian. He won election to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1998 and is unopposed for re-election this year.
The case is Nora v. Kaddo, B166045.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company