Judicial disciplinarians on Wednesday publicly admonished a Los Angeles County judge for becoming embroiled in proceedings involving a defense attorney who won a case in his courtroom.
The Commission on Judicial Performance said Superior Court Judge Patrick Connolly took on the role of an investigator pursuing attorney Freddie Fletcher, who suggested during a sidebar conference that the prosecutor may have improperly signaled to a testifying witness. Connolly set six hearings on the matter over six months, sought transcripts from an unrelated case that Fletcher was also involved in, and conducted an improper ex parte evidentiary hearing, the commission concluded.
"These actions gave the appearance that Judge Connolly was not acting as an impartial factfinder, but was conducting an independent investigation into Mr. Fletcher's conduct, and was embroiled in the matter and biased against Mr. Fletcher," the commission said in its order.
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