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.