Monday, November 5, 2001
Former U.S. Judge Charles Legge Named to Investigate CJP Director
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Retired U.S. District Judge Charles Legge of the Northern District of California was named Friday to investigate allegations that Commission on Judicial Performance Director/Chief Counsel Victoria Henley had an undisclosed conflict of interest when she investigated charges against former Sonoma Superior Court Judge Patricia Gray.
Commission Chairman Michael A. Kahn said in a statement:
“We are extremely pleased to have a jurist of Judge Legge’s stature and reputation acting as the Commission’s independent examiner in this matter. Judge Legge will have full discretion to determine how he will conduct his investigation of the allegations brought on behalf of former Judge Gray, and the Commission will provide Judge Legge with its complete cooperation. Judge Legge will investigate these matters thoroughly and fairly, and the Commission is hopeful that the matter will be concluded as soon as possible.”
Gray is charged with having violated the ban on comment on pending cases, and on creating an appearance of partiality, as a result of campaign literature used in her unsuccessful re-election bid last year.
Her attorney, Mark Geragos of Los Angeles, has charged that Henley helped bring groundless charges against his client, perhaps in order to obtain leverage in a suit brought by Henley’s husband against Gray.
Michael Boli, whose marriage to Henley was discovered by Geragos through an investigation of property records, is representing plaintiffs who claim Gray missed a statute-of-limitations date while in private practice before her election to the bench in 1994.
Geragos praised the appointment Friday. Legge, he said, “by all accounts is highly respected.” The former jurist “certainly has all the credentials” needed to serve as independent counsel in the case, he said.
The allegations, he added, are straightforward and well-documented and “shouldn’t take more than a week to investigate.”
Legge was appointed to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 and retired earlier this year to join JAMS as a private judge. Prior to his appointment to the bench, he practiced law in the San Francisco office of Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon for 28 years.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company