The Paranoid Defendant – “Constantly Surrounded by Mormons”

"Court Case Friday" I was presiding over the high volume arraignment calendar in my OC courtroom, when I called the case of a criminal trespasser. As I thumbed through the police report, I noticed that the defendant was arrested for disrupting an LDS stake conference. I also learned that the LDS Church had obtained a … Continue reading The Paranoid Defendant – “Constantly Surrounded by Mormons”

“The Hulk” Came to My Rescue

"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

Murder at “Mormon Night”

"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”

The “Exploding Dog” Case

"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

Officer Shot and Killed a 5-Year-Old Boy

"Court Case Friday" In 1983, my colleagues and I in the OC District Attorney’s Office evaluated a heartbreaking, tragic case. Stanton Police received a 911 call complaining about suspicious noises coming from an “empty” apartment where a single woman lived with her 5-year-old son.  The caller was also worried that the boy had not been … Continue reading Officer Shot and Killed a 5-Year-Old Boy

Kids Keep Adults, even Judges, Humble

"Court Case Friday" Over the years, I have hosted dozens of court tours for youth groups. My Bailiff seats the group in the jury box and at the counsel table. I then give a 10-15 minute talk, sharing my most entertaining and humorous court case “war stories.” One afternoon, I had a large group of … Continue reading Kids Keep Adults, even Judges, Humble

Can the Government Ban Believers From Handling Poisonous Snakes and Drinking Poison During Worship?

Handling poisonous snakes and drinking poison are part of worship in some Christian churches.  Are these dangerous religious practices protected by the Constitution? New Testament basis for using snakes and poison Religious snake handling and poison drinking are based on three New Testament passages. Mark 16: 17-18: “And these signs shall follow them that believe: … Continue reading Can the Government Ban Believers From Handling Poisonous Snakes and Drinking Poison During Worship?

What do police do with a TON of marijuana evidence?

"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?

A Public Defender’s “Crazy”Clients

"Court Case Friday" A Public Defender (PD) was assigned to my court after serving on the mental health calendar. His primary duty at that time was to prove that his clients, incarcerated in state mental hospitals, were "sane" enough to be released into the community.  Here are a few of his cases: The Super Rich … Continue reading A Public Defender’s “Crazy”Clients