A veteran judge from Fresno is sighing with relief after a rebuke from a state disciplinary commission for illegally getting an acquaintance released from jail after an arrest for domestic violence.
Superior Court Judge James Petrucelli is relieved because he kept his job.
Although Petrucelli’s actions damaged public confidence in “the objectivity and impartiality of the judiciary,” and he had three previous disciplinary violations, he has a good overall record as a judge and apparently didn’t intend to break the law or abuse his authority, the Commission on Judicial Performance said Tuesday.
While his misconduct might have been legal grounds for removal in other circumstances, the commission said, it was “an isolated incident” that can be adequately addressed by a “severe censure,” the strongest public reprimand available.
“Judge Petrucelli accepts the censure,” said his lawyer, Kathleen Ewins. “”The commission’s decision is in large part what we argued. …He looks forward to working hard for the people of Fresno County.”
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