"Court Case Friday" Child and Animal Victims My most difficult court cases emotionally are ones in which the victims are children or animals. I avoid these cases like a plague. My feelings vacillate between extreme rage toward the defendant and devastating sorrow for the helpless victims. I also inform attorneys, semi-jokingly, that there is a … Continue reading He took his neighbor’s dog for a walk and killed it
"Court Case Friday" Religious Diets in Prison – The General Rules Traditionally, prisoners were considered "slaves of the state." They had no constitutional rights. Currently, inmates don’t forfeit their First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion. Prisons must make “reasonable accommodations” for religious practices and worship. However, a prisoner’s right to practice … Continue reading The “Wine and Porterhouse Steak” Prison Church
I inherited a tendency to misspeak. Sometimes, what comes out of my mouth, is not what I was thinking. That can be a very bad trait for a judge. The following episode is my most "famous" misspeak. Youngest Judge in California (36 yrs old) I was filling in for our traffic commissioner, who called in … Continue reading 30 Years in Prison for A Speeding Ticket – Yikes!
One of my first assignments in the OC DA's Office was in the courtroom of Judge Ragnar Engebretsen. Judge Engebretsen was a faithful member of the LDS Church, and a senior high councilor in his stake at the time. We had completed our work for the day, and I was gathering my case files when … Continue reading Young LDS Drunk Driver
"Court Case Friday" One afternoon I had a large group of prisoners in the “cage” in my courtroom. I started advising them of their constitutional rights. One of the women suddenly interrupted me and screamed, “I don’t recognize you.” I thought to myself, “I don’t’ recognize you either.” She continued: Defendant: “I am a God! I don’t … Continue reading Defendant: “I am a God! You are a mere mortal!”
"Court Case Friday" One afternoon, I was discussing a felony case with the district attorney and the public defender at my bench. The woman defendant was in custody in the “cage.” Public Execution All of a sudden, the she screamed at me: Defendant: “What are you doing?” Judge: “I am discussing your case with the … Continue reading “My” Prisoner had been “Executed” and then “Resurrected”
"Court Case Friday" I presided over a case of a developmentally disabled young man who lived in a care home. He was a huge fan, ("Hulkster") of Hulk Hogan, "The Hulk," the giant world-famous wrestler and celebrity. One morning, while this young man was waiting for the public bus to take him to an assembly line … Continue reading “The Hulk” Came to My Rescue
"Court Case Friday" "Mormon Nights" Over the decades, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sponsored annual “Mormon Nights” at Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, and Disneyland. (Disneyland routinely scheduled nighttime"private parties" from 7pm to 1am on non-peak days. "General Public not admitted.") There were discount tickets. For example, in 1970 the tickets for “Mormon … Continue reading Murder at “Mormon Night”
"Court Case Friday" My favorite law school civil torts case was: the case of the “Exploding Dog.” Here are the facts: A landowner had a vacant lot downtown between high-rise buildings. He wanted to improve the property, and so he hired a land developer. However, there was a giant tree stump with deep roots in … Continue reading The “Exploding Dog” Case
"Court Case Friday" Sometimes police success can create logistical problems. I issued search warrants in a Costa Mesa case where the police seized over one ton (2,000 pounds) of marijuana. They celebrated their success. But then they encountered the problem: “What to do with a ton of marijuana?” It was very bulky, about a cargo … Continue reading What do police do with a TON of marijuana evidence?