Criminal suspects charged with robberies, assaults with deadly weapons
and carjackings were allowed to roam the streets of Los Angeles so
that the LA County Criminal Court could keep its regular business
hours. On May 28, Judge David S. Wesley released the criminally charged
into the community so that the court could close promptly at 4:30
p.m., despite the strenuous objections of Public Defender Mark Lessum
and Assistant District Attorney Loren Naimen.
"In my 32 years with the District Attorney's Office, I have
never seen such a dereliction of duty and reckless endangerment
of the public by judges," said Judicial Watch Western Regional
Chief Sterling "Ernie" Norris. "Judicial Watch is
pursuing an investigation of this disgraceful matter to see that
it never happens again.
Through an investigation conducted by Judicial Watch's Judicial
Monitoring Project, which is designed to root out corruption and
incompetence in the nation's judicial system, JW learned that both
civil and criminal courts were empty and available to conduct criminal
arraignments. Furthermore, both the Assistant District Attorney
and the Public Defender offered to stay until business was completed.
Judge Wesley, however, decided that public safety and the rights
of those accused were of less importance than sticking with normal office hours. By shutting down
court proceedings, Judge Wesley not only endangered the public,
but also violated the Constitutional rights of those charged with
crimes, who are entitled to arraignment proceedings.
Judicial Watch is filing a formal complaint with the Presiding
Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court System, the Chief
Justice of the California Supreme Court, and the Council on Judicial