Judicial Monitoring Project Update
California Court Frees Criminals to Keep Business Hours

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 Performance.