Tuesday, July 21, 2015
CJP Sets Argument in Case of Tulare Judge Accused Of Impropriety Involving Clerk
From Staff and Wire Service Reports
The Commission on Judicial Performance yesterday scheduled final arguments in the case of a Tulare Superior Court judge accused of writing an anonymous letter accusing his court clerk of an affair in an attempt to engage her in a personal relationship.
Arguments in the case of Valeriano Saucedo, who in 2001 became the first Latino judge of his court, are set for Oct. 7 at the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals headquarters in San Francisco.
San Diego attorney Gary Schons is schedule to argue as the commission examiner, and Los Angeles attorney Randall Miller is set to argue for Saucedo.
Earlier this month, a panel of special masters said it did not believe Saucedo’s claim that he did not write the unsigned, sexually explicit letter accusing his clerk of having an affair with a bailiff. The panel concluded he did it to get closer to the clerk, offering to meet with her privately and help her.
The masters said he sent the woman 445 text messages over a two-month period.
“We find [clerk Priscilla] Tovar’s testimony to be credible and find true her version of the events,” the masters wrote. “By contrast, we find significant portions of Judge Saucedo’s testimony lacked credibility,” including his denial of having sent the letter.
Saucedo claimed, in a letter to the commission, that his relationship with Tovar “was nothing more than mentorship and friendship.” He said he tried to help Tovar financially and advance her career, and that Tovar turned on him and tried to extort him.
“I had no desire…for a closer and more personal relationship with Ms. Tovar,” he added. He said he felt “strongly that none of this implicates any judicial canon,” but acknowledged that his “interaction with Ms. Tovar might have been, at times, too familiar” and said he was “unqualifiedly apologetic” for his actions.
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