While many judges were surprised to see Poché return to the superior court after serving more than 20 years on the First District Court of Appeal, some were more taken aback by the revelation that a judge could be reappointed and still collect 100 percent retirement.

Although it’s not uncommon for retired judges to moonlight as pro tem judges sitting by assignment, Poché’s return to the bench as a full-fledged judge was so out of the ordinary that it had to be reviewed by the legal division at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The verdict: Poché could continue to collect his full retirement while at the same time earning a new salary of $136,224. All told, Poché will pull down close to $240,000 per year handling misdemeanors in Santa Clara County — and he won’t even have to make any further contributions to the Judges Retirement System.