Friday, January 20, 2005
Arguments Before Special Masters in Discipline Case Against Judge Kevin Ross Set for Next Month
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The panel of special masters that heard evidence in the judicial misconduct case against Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin Ross in November will meet again next month to listen to arguments from Ross’ lawyer and from an attorney for the Commission on Judicial Performance, the CJP said yesterday.
Ross testified during the four-day hearing, which concluded Nov. 18, that he did nothing wrong by discussing legal issues, including references to pending cases, during appearances on public television programs. He also defended his participation in making what an agent who represented him described as a “sales presentation” for a television show which Ross would host.
But Ross conceded during the hearing that he improperly remanded a defendant—whom he accused of having provided false information about her identity—to jail even though the charges against her were traffic infractions.
He also acknowledged that he went too far in questioning a defendant who was before the court without counsel for a progress report on charges of conducting religious services in his home without a permit. Action on the case had been informally deferred to allow the defendant time to obtain a permit or move the services to an appropriate venue.
With a number of the defendant’s disapproving neighbors in attendance and the city attorney asking for a trial date because the defendant was continuing to hold services for large numbers of people without a permit, Ross acknowledged, he continued to inquire of the defendant after he said he wanted to seek an attorney, and questioned his veracity.
Ross said he acted from the “the best of intentions,” and realizes he made a mistake.
The masters—San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael Smith, Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Judith Haller, and Ventura Superior Court Judge Vincent J. O’Neill Jr.—will reconvene Feb. 10 to hear further argument from Ross’ lawyer, Edward P. George of Long Beach, and CJP Trial Counsel Jack Coyle, the CJP said in a press release. The hearing, open to the public, will be held in the courtroom of this district’s Court of Appeal in the downtown Ronald Reagan Building.
George said yesterday that when the hearing was held in November the parties elected to put off presenting their arguments until they had submitted their proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law to the masters. The attorney said he expected those submissions to be made soon.
The masters will transmit their findings to the CJP, which determines what discipline, if any, is appropriate.
Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company