Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Possible Hazardous Substance Causes Partial Courthouse Evacuation
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The second floor of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse downtown was evacuated late yesterday afternoon when a possible hazardous substance was discovered, the court’s public information officer, Allan Parachini, said.
Police were investigating and an enrobing ceremony for new Superior Court Judge Burt Pines at which Chief Justice Ronald M. George was to preside had to be moved from the second floor courtroom of Presiding Judge Robert Dukes to a courtroom on the fifth floor, Parachini reported.
A large audience arriving for the ceremony was being redirected to the fifth floor and the second floor remained off limits to all but public safety officials at press time, Parachini said.
Pines, the judicial appointments secretary to former Gov. Gray Davis, was appointed to the bench by Davis Nov. 12 along with Deputy District Attorneys Michael D. Carter and Michael A. Latin and lawyers Wendy L. Kohn, Jan G. Levine and Michael P. Linfield. All were sworn in before Davis left office Nov. 17.
Parachini said he did not know whether any of the other judges were scheduled to participate in the ceremony. He said a joint investigation was being conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department, assisted by the hazardous materials unit of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The investigation related to a “suspect package” found on the second floor, Parachini said.
A witness, L.A. Weekly staff writer Rob Greene, told the MetNews visitors to the courthouse were held at the perimeter around the building and told by officials that “a substance was found and if we developed any symptoms to contact our physicians.” Greene commented that it was “a really nice way to greet the Thanksgiving weekend.”
Copyright 2003, Metropolitan News Company