OC STREET by Kelly Robinson
The Orange County Criminal Defense Bar Association jumped to Kelly’s defense, sending a letter to the OC WEEKLY and other media outlets signed by association President Paul Meyer and ten other prominent criminal defense lawyers in Orange County. Their hope is to derail the train of angry public opinion. But before we get into that, know first that Paul Meyer is one of OC’s preeminent lawyers who – wait for it – defends stumbling and falling judges in discipline proceedings before the CA Council on Judicial Performance, including former Judge Richard Stanford who fixed traffic ticket fines for friends, and notorious double-bedder-in-Chambers Judge Scott Steiner. If the CJP latches on to Kelly, Meyer may well be standing by his side.
Of course these defense lawyers do have a point. The judiciary is supposed to be independent, free from the undue influence of public affairs and public pressure. But that does not mean any judge should be free from reproach, by me, by you, by the public at large, or even by politicians. That a judge does what he or she believes is “the right thing” doesn’t mean it really is the right thing. There is a reason federal judges appointed for life can still be impeached. There is a reason why state judges, whether first appointed by a Governor or elected by the people, must stand for election again in six years. It gives the electorate a chance to pass judgment on the black-enrobed.
What these lawyers don’t admit, is their vast hypocrisy in pushing this “independence” idea. You see, if you are one of those criminal defense lawyers who don’t like a harsh sentence he gave in a previous case, or don’t like the ruling in an evidentiary motion in your last trial, or don’t even like what gossip you hear about what he did in some other criminal defense lawyers case – then YOU TOO GET TO RECALL THAT JUDGE. It’s called “papering a judge,” where a lawyer can remove a judge from their case (or all their cases) for good reasons or on a whim – without even having to explain why.
The defense bar’s claim that a public effort to recall a judge is “repugnant,” while they themselves cherish their personal right to remove a judge at will in their cases, is intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy only a criminal defense lawyer would dare push to the jury of public opinion with a straight face. So while these lawyers climb up on their collective high horse, maybe all they are pushing onto the public stage is a Trojan horse, full of typical defense spin, smoke, and cracked mirrors.
But keep it on the QT!