Thursday, May 17, 2012
CJP Admonishes Judge for Delays, False Affidavits
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Commission on Judicial Performance yesterday publicly admonished a Merced Superior Court judge for holding cases under submission beyond the 90-day limit and falsely swearing that he was not doing so.
The commission said that Judge John D. Kirihara had appeared before it on May 8 to object to the discipline, but that it had approved the discipline by a vote of 8-0, with two members recused and one not participating.
Kirihara, the commission said, violated the 90-day rule three times in 2010. He had one civil case under submission for 320 days, a probate matter under consideration for 237 days, and a matter involving a trust under submission for 110 days.
The commission also noted that with respect to the probate matter, the judge was specifically advised that the case had been under submission for five or six months, yet took another 59 days to submit his decision.
The judge committee further misconduct on 11 occasions, once a month from May 2010 through March 2011, by falsely swearing that he had no cases under submission for more than 90 days, the CJP found.
The commission also found that the judge violated the Rules of Court or the ethical canons by failing to keep a list of cases he had under submission, even during a period that he was presiding judge of the court and obliged by the rules to circulate such lists among the judges.
“Presiding judges have the responsibility of monitoring the cases under submission on their county and ensuring that no cases remain undecided for more than 90 days,” the commission said. “Consequently, a presiding judge should be particularly vigilant about monitoring his or her own submitted matters.”
Kirihara, a judge since 2001, was presiding judge from April 2007 through the end of 2010, the commission said.
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