SACRAMENTO — A judge who made a crude reference to the Ku Klux Klan in a case involving African-American defendants was publicly admonished today by the Commission on Judicial Performance.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Harvey Giss “should have known that his insensitive courtroom reference to a history of violence towards persons of the defendants’ ancestry, whether intended to make a valid point regarding his role as a judge or in jest, was offensive and inappropriate,” the commission wrote.