Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Court of Appeal Faults Judge for Deciding Case Without Hearing It
Retired Jurist Said Second Case Was Duplicative of One She Just Heard
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A retired Orange Superior Court judge, sitting on assignment, was reproached yesterday by the Court of Appeal for deciding a case without hearing it.
Judge Margaret R. Anderson initially ruled that Lenore Albert’s two petitions for a workplace violence restraining order were duplicative, and she would act on only one of them—but then changed her mind and announced she would hear them, seriatum. After ruling against Albert on the first, she declined to proceed with a hearing on the second, explaining:
“I’m going to be making pretty much the same findings. Because your exact same charges, your exact same list of complaints, exact same people are named in that one.”
She also said that Albert lacked credibility and was unreasonable and vindictive.
Justice William W. Bedsworth of the Fourth District’s Div. Three said the judgment on the first application for a temporary restraining order must be reversed because “the trial judge erroneously excluded considerable evidence offered by Albert.”
The evidence could have shown that her former employee, defendant George Olivo, made threats on more than one occasion, the jurist said.
“Judge Anderson left no doubt she had prejudged the [second] case based on the hearing in the [first] case. As such,…Albert will be able to file a section 170.6 affidavit against Judge Anderson in the event Judge Anderson is assigned to the case on remand.
“While we recognize that managing a busy harassment restraining order calendar is a high-pressure, emotionally-charged job compounded by an extraordinary number of self-represented litigants, Judge Anderson’s clear prejudging of this case was not in the highest tradition of the trial bench.”
Anderson served as presiding judge of the North Orange County Municipal Court in 1988. She was elected to the Orange Superior Court in 1998, and opted not to seek reelection in 2010.
The case is Albert v. Olivo, G051159.
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