Monday, October 31, 2011
Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani Sets April Retirement
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani has announced plans to retire at the end of April, a court spokesperson said Friday.
Comparet-Cassani, 74, did not return MetNews phone calls seeking comment. The judge, who joined the bench in 1995, has been disciplined three times by the Commission on Judicial Performance during her career, most recently in August, and drew international attention, including denunciation by Amnesty International, after she ordered a bailiff to activate a stun belt worn by a verbally disruptive defendant in 1998.
That defendant later received a $275,000 settlement from the county, and the CJP later disclosed that Comparet-Cassani was privately admonished for her conduct in that case.
Comparet-Cassani also received an advisory letter in 2006 for questioning a criminal defense attorney in open court about where and when she went to law school, when she passed the bar, and whether she was “up to” handling the pending case.
The latest discipline imposed was a public admonishment for having abused her authority and violating a defendant’s constitutional rights by terminating his pro per status without legal cause.
Before joining the Los Angeles Municipal Court as an appointee of then-Gov. Pete Wilson and being elevated to the superior court by unification, Comparet-Cassani served for 12 years as a deputy attorney general and for two years as senior counsel for the Department of Corrections.
She also taught philosophy in Long Beach, and in Michigan and Florida, before attending Loyola Law School and joining the State Bar in 1977.
Comparet-Cassani holds a masters degree from the University of Michigan and an undergraduate degree from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.
In other news, Court of Appeal Justice Wendy C. Duffy left the bench on Thursday, a spokesperson for the Sixth District said on Friday, which was the justice’s 60th birthday.
Duffy began her judicial career in the Monterey Municipal Court, where she served from 1989 until 1999, when she was tapped for the Monterey Superior Court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson. In 2005, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger elevated her to the appellate court.
She was the first woman to be appointed to each of those courts, the governor’s office noted in a press release at that time.
The jurist also served as a Monterey County deputy district attorney for 11 years, and was the county’s first prosecutor assigned as a specialist in sex crimes. She earned both her undergraduate and law degrees from UC Berkeley and joined the State Bar in 1978.
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