Superior Court Judge Receives CJP’s Severe Public Admonishment
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Commission on Judicial
Performance yesterday issued a severe public admonishment to former Modoc
Superior Court Judge David A. Mason, who was publicly admonished on Dec. 3,
2019, for failing to disclose to parties his close relationship with a lawyer
who appeared before him and, even after that scolding, continued to neglect to
make a disclosure in some cases.
Mason, who retired Oct.
31, on Nov. 6 signed a stipulation prepared by the commission staff under which
he would, if the CJP approved the bargain, receive a
severe public admonishment and be forever barred from seeking or accepting a
judicial office or assignment.
The former jurist could,
potentially, have received a higher level of discipline: a censure.
determination to resolve this matter with a severe public admonishment was
conditioned upon former Judge Mason’s agreement not to serve in a judicial
capacity in the future. The commission concluded that this resolution
adequately fulfills its mandate to protect the public from further possible
misconduct and avoids the need for further proceedings.”
It spells out:
“Former Judge Mason has
acknowledged his failure to properly disclose his personal relationship with attorney Tom
Gifford on the record in a multitude of
cases in which Mr. Gifford appeared, his lack of candor in his
communication with the commission about
his compliance with his disclosure obligations, and his discourteous and biased conduct toward the
district attorney’s office—all of which
violated his duty to conduct himself with integrity and in a manner that
promotes public confidence in the judiciary.
“The purpose of
California’s statutory disclosure requirements is to ensure public confidence
in the judiciary…Former Judge Mason’s persistent failure to comply with these
requirements reflects an unacceptable lack of concern on his part about the
public’s perception of the integrity and fairness of the judiciary.”
His conduct toward the
District Attorney’s Office was comprised of a comment during a chambers
conference in which he remarked that the office was “unprofessional and stupid”
to have filed a complaint in a case.
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