Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Page 1


CJA President, Judge Herman Say Differences Have Been Resolved


By a MetNews Staff Writer


California Judges Association President Keith D. Davis said yesterday the organization has addressed concerns raised by several Los Angeles judges over a letter sent to the chief justice by CJA Executive Board member James Herman which contained artwork from the organization’s website as a letterhead.

Davis noted that Herman “has expressed his regret over this matter” and both said they “consider the matter closed.”

Members of the CJA Los Angeles Delegation—Judges Kevin Brazile, James Dabney, Mary Thornton House, Charles “Tim” McCoy, Joanne O’Donnell, and Zaven Sinanian—on Friday objected to Herman’s use of “modified (ergo faux) CJA logo/masthead art” to convey a message which “contradicted the bulk of our statewide membership’s positions” expressed in the survey.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Lopez-Giss also emailed House—a vice president of CJA who has been nominated to head the group next year—contending Herman’s letter violated bylaws which prohibit CJA members from speaking on behalf of the group without authorization.

Following a discussion with the Santa Barbara Superior Court jurist and other board members, Davis said he was “assured that no further correspondence with such a CJA graphic will be used by Judge Herman in the future.”

Herman yesterday explained that “we agreed the graphic would be retired” to “avoid any future misunderstandings.”

Davis acknowledged that the appearance “of a CJA graphic image on the letterhead gave some people the impression that [Herman] was speaking on behalf of CJA,” even though the content “made it clear…that he was expressing his personal views only, and not the views of the CJA.”

Herman also emphasized that his message was on behalf of CJA members in his district, which encompasses Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Cruz and Ventura counties, and said he was “gratified the CJA executive committee concluded that [his] letter was properly sent on behalf of District 8, and not on behalf of CJA.”

Herman’s missive last Wednesday informed the chief justice that the results of a CJA member survey conducted in March—which indicated a majority of the state’s bench officers are dissatisfied with branch leadership—did not adequately represent the views of the members in his district.

His communiqué came two days after Davis sent a letter for the chief justice on behalf of the organization reporting the survey results and providing a summary of written comments by respondents.


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