Friday, October 11, 2002
Pamela Rogers Seeks Disability Retirement as Spouse Files for Divorce
Judge Randolph Rogers Says Wife Should Be Limited to Supervised Visitation With Their Child
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Pamela Rogers has filed for disability retirement, Commission on Judicial Performance Director/Chief Counsel Victoria Henley said yesterday.
Rogers, a judge since 1995, has been away from her duties since undergoing neck surgery last October. She has a long history of illness and was the subject of a disciplinary proceeding by the commission, which alleged that she was impaired as a result of the use of prescription drugs.
Rogers is married to fellow Superior Court Judge Randolph Rogers, who, it was learned yesterday, filed for divorce Sept. 12 after 10 years of marriage.
In his petition, Rogers averred that the couple separated the day before he filed and asked that he be given legal and physical custody of the couple’s 9-year-old daughter, and that his wife be limited to supervised visitation.
He did not return a MetNews phone call. His attorney, James Neavitt of Valencia, declined to comment as to why the judge believes his wife should not be allowed to be alone with their daughter, or on any other aspect of the case.
Pamela Rogers’ attorney, Arthur Soll of the Westside firm of Trope and Trope, was said to be in trial and unavailable for comment.
The court file reflects that Family Law Supervising Judge Aviva K. Bobb assigned the case to Judge Roy Paul, who held an ex parte hearing on Sept. 13 on Randolph Rogers’ “proposed Order to Show Cause for Child Custody, Visitation, Injunctive Order and Order Sealing Court File.”
According to the minute order, Rogers was allowed to withdraw the proposed OSC, and all of his supporting papers, and to have those documents returned to him. Paul cited as authority for his order Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 128(a)(8), which allows a court “[t]o amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conform to law and justice.”
Pamela Rogers, a former deputy district attorney, was elected to the old Antelope Municipal Court in 1994, winning a heated runoff contest with Superior Court Commissioner Victor Reichman.
In January 1998, the CJP brought formal proceedings against Rogers.
The commission charged that over a two-year span, she exhibited slurred speech, appeared to speak to an empty witness stand, demonstrated poor short-term memory and engaged in other “bizarre” conduct. She allegedly kept irregular court hours, was rude to court staff and other attorneys and had excessive absences.
Rogers acknowledged that she had been using prescribed medications for chronic migraines which she had for many years but which became particularly acute during her 1993 pregnancy, and had persistent difficulties with the drugs prescribed by her local physicians.
She maintained, however, that those difficulties were ameliorated by a course of treatment, including meditation and yoga, prescribed by doctors at the Scripps Clinic in San Diego. She steadfastly denied being impaired on the bench.
She eventually agreed to a disposition in which she accepted public admonishment for having decided seven cases after the 90-day deadline. She was also required to provide the commission with copies of her medical and judicial attendance records for two years, with the understanding that a formal hearing would be held if she appeared unable to perform her duties effectively.
When that two-year period ended in the summer of 2000, the commission voted 9-1 to dismiss the proceedings, with San Francisco attorney Michael Kahn the lone dissenter.
San Francisco lawyer Ephraim Margolin, who represented her at the time, said yesterday he did not know if he would be involved in her efforts to obtain disability retirement.
Henley explained that under the commission’s rules, she was permitted to disclose only that Rogers had brought the petition, and that the commission had not made a decision.
She could not disclose when the petition was filed or whether Rogers was represented by counsel, she said. Any new disciplinary investigation, she added, could not be disclosed unless and until formal charges are filed.
Henley also disclosed yesterday that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Reginald Yates has applied for disability retirement. The MetNews reported last month that Yates was seriously ill and not expected to return to work.
California Rules of Court require that the presiding judge of a court notify the commission if a judge has been absent for more than 90 days due to disability.
Presiding Judge James Bascue was unavailable for comment on the Pamela Rogers situation yesterday, as he was reportedly en route to the annual meeting of the California Judges Association. But Judge Steven D. Ogden, who supervises the North District courts to which both Rogerses are assigned, said he was “99.9999 percent certain” that Bascue had given the commission notice of Rogers’ absence, based on reports that Ogden had submitted.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company