California District Attorney Boycotts Judge Who Ruled For Defendant

Recently, we saw how San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis ordered a boycott of a judge who is deemed too protective over defendant rights, here. Now the ABA Journal is reporting below that another prosecutor has followed suit with her own boycott of a judge in Santa Clara. District Attorney Dolores Carr confirmed that she is boycotting Superior Court Judge Andrea Bryan after the judge ruled for a criminal defendant. It is a dangerous trend that should result in a prompt rebukes from the bar as an attack on the very foundation of an independent judiciary.

Carr’s objection appears to be Bryan’s decision earlier this month in favor of a convicted child molester, Augustin Uribe, due to “a tangled web of deceit” on the part of an assistant district attorney in the case, including false testimony. Carr responded by instructing her prosecutors to use peremptory challenges against Bryan (who is a former prosecutor herself).

Carr insists that the boycott is due to a number of decisions that she viewed as insufficiently supportive of the prosecution or too favorable to the accused parties. She insists that boycotting judges is just part of her job: “We must safeguard the ability to prosecute our cases and do not believe we can fulfill our responsibility to the public if lawyers from this office continue to appear before Judge Bryan.”
What is particularly disturbing is that the Uribe case involved egregious misconduct by the prosecutor, here. It was recently learned that over 3,300 tapes had been withheld by the prosecutors in such cases. Deputy District Attorney Troy Benson was singled out for a judicial rebuke by Bryan:

“Mr. Benson’s numerous acts of misconduct, culminating in his false testimony in this proceeding, strikes at the foundation of our legal system and is so grossly shocking and outrageous that it offends the universal sense of justice to allow prosecution in this matter to proceed. As such, defendant’s motion to dismiss on due process grounds is granted.”

Notably, on her campaign site, Carr lists the need to “act with integrity and respect for the rights of the accused” as one of her primary goals. That appears to be accomplished by barring judges who have the temerity to condemn false testimony and rule in favor of the accused.

For the full story, click here and here.

12 thoughts on “California District Attorney Boycotts Judge Who Ruled For Defendant”

  1. Byron:

    “will you check out the SC Lt. Gov site I have a question for you.”


    Ok, will do.

  2. Maybe mespo, they go forum shopping under the republican plan. How many Federal cases have been filed only to have them dismissed a new party added and then filed in hopes of getting a more salient Prosecutor. Oops, I meant Judge…..

  3. I see no reason for peremptory challenges to judges. If a motion to recuse is warranted, so be it, but absent that situation you “takes what you gets.”

  4. Isn’t the job of a prosecuting attorney to uncover the truth? The defense defends but the prosecutor has a greater master or at least should.

    As a layman I am amazed that DA’s are more worried about their careers and moving up the political ladder than discovering the truth. I guess I am naive to think that a prosecutor has a duty to society and to the defendant. If an innocent man is convicted by a corrupt DA society is harmed far more than if a guilty man is released in a fair trial. It seems self evident.

  5. ET Spoon ‘linked article’

    Thanks for the info, yes, this looks like the golden rule in action. Proximity (in time) is sure working against her.

    I agree with AY, whoever, singly or in concert with others need a full hearing in front of the California Bar Assc. i hope the wrongdoers lose their license’ and face whatever criminal charges are appropriate.

  6. I live in Santa Clara County and Dolores Carr was originally elected on a platform of transparency and anti corruption. I think I voted for her. What a mistake that was.

    One of her prosecutors was suspended for four years from the CA bar for withholding evidence. This caused some controversy when one columnist for the SJ Mercury wrote that four years was too much and would harm the guy’s career. What a backlash that brought on. Only four years for ruining someone’s WHOLE life for a prosecutor trying to further his career!

    Now Ahnold is suggesting that California build prisons in Mexico cause they are cheaper to run. Where is California going?

    Personally I am twice the victim of police violence, one time requiring stitches from a rifle butt to my head. The San Jose Police force has been the subject of a long ongoing investigation of the actions of several officers who prefer violence to any other solution. The Mercury News calls this investigation “Tainted Trials, Stolen Justice” and it has been ongoing for 3 years.

    Now we are to elect a new Sheriff– I wonder what voters have learned.

    Tasers ready?

  7. As long as DA’s are elected officials with the possiblity of attaining higher office, we will see them running roughshod overdefendants in order to build a conviction record. They will also continue to betray the status as Officers of the Court.

  8. Me thinks that this is more a political maneuver than legal.

    Here’s an interesting news item concerning DA Carr from last fall:
    “At the urging of a prominent San Jose lawyer and campaign contributor, Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr personally intervened on behalf of one of his clients, calling the prosecutor in charge and persuading him to reduce the client’s charges.

    “Carr says she was just ‘responding’ to attorney James McManis as she would to anyone who called, even a stranger. ‘That’s what public servants do,’ she said.

    “At the time, she’d received $2,500 from McManis, his wife and his law firm — the maximum allowable before her 2006 election under campaign finance laws. Since then, McManis et al has held a fundraiser for her at Hotel De Anza’s Cafe Pastaia in San Jose and donated another $2,000 to her —including $500 just as the charge against his client was being reduced.”

  9. Not that all defendant are innocent, but this is absurd.

    “Earlier this month, Bryan ordered the release of Augustin Uribe, who had been sentenced to 38 years to life on child molestation charges after finding Deputy District Attorney Troy Benson had woven what she called “a tangled web of deceit,” including testifying falsely

    Uribe’s [the Defendant in this case]conviction on charges he sexually assaulted a young relative was overturned by an appellate court in 2008, after a finding that the District Attorney’s Office had improperly withheld a videotape of the purported victim’s physical exam, which was turned over “only” after Uribe had been sentenced. A defense expert then reviewed the videotape and said it contradicted the prosecution witnesses’ testimony that the child had been assaulted.

    Prosecutors have since acknowledged the existence of about “3,300” of those videotapes, dating to 1991, that were never provided to trial attorneys, as required by law. They have insisted that most of the tapes are of little value. But Bryan’s decision reinforced the contention of legal experts that dozens of other child sex abuse convictions in the county are at risk of being overturned.

    Sounds like an ethics complaint should be filed against this District Attorney. 3,300 tapes? 9.041 years at 365 days a year. If all 3.3K are independent cases. This is insane. Could the same fate await this DA as the Duke Prosecutor? Will the lying DA giving false testimony get their own TV show on CNN, Fox?

    The second article is a lot more informative.

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