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Santa Clara County Superior Court’s presiding judge, Thomas Hansen, said Tuesday that he’s looking at adopting a formal protocol for case transfers as new details emerge about Judge William Danser’s handling of a DUI case in October. Danser has acknowledged that he transferred Anna Keane’s DUI case to his courtroom as a courtesy, but defended the sentence he handed down, saying it was in keeping with his usual practice for first-time offenders. But court records indicate that Keane had been convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving in 1989. While the prior wouldn’t trigger statutes requiring sentencing as a second-time offender, local judges and prosecutors said the prior, along with her high blood alcohol content — 0.22 at the scene, and 0.18 in lab tests — should have resulted in more than the 90-day restricted license imposed by Danser. Danser said Tuesday he wasn’t aware of the prior. “I am supposed to take into consideration something I didn’t know about?” he asked. “It sounds like to me they are getting awful excited over nothing.” One of Danser’s colleagues, requesting anonymity, said the incident is casting a pall over the Santa Clara court. “My colleagues are livid,” the judge said. “This makes it look like this is how business is done. And this is not how business is done.” He added that his colleagues are “scrupulously honest.” “To do something like this, it’s incomprehensible,” he said. The prosecutor in the courtroom for the surprise sentencing said Tuesday that Danser erupted in anger when she requested a transcript of the sentencing. Deputy DA Tracy Gilliam said Danser told her, “Screw you. Screw your office. Screw [Assistant DA] Karyn Sinunu. You want me off the bench. Fine. I can do lots of other things.” Danser’s woes began last week when media reports revealed he tried to order the dismissal of two traffic tickets totaling $90 issued against his own car. Danser admitted he was wrong and said he reported himself to the Commission on Judicial Performance. Hansen said he is “looking into” the parking ticket order, as well as the DUI case. According to the case file, Keane, 33, was arrested in August for drunken driving in Los Altos after she pulled the SUV she was driving behind a stopped police cruiser and then sped off when an officer approached her car. Keane’s case was originally assigned to Judge Douglas Southard, whom court records indicate had held a pre-trial settlement conference with Keane’s attorney, Michael Horner. At the request of Judge Danser, Southard transferred the case to San Jose in October. “When I get a request for a transfer, I assume the person has another case pending in a requesting judge’s department,” Southard explained Tuesday. Danser, who was assigned to criminal law and motion at the time, halted his calendar to hear Keane’s case. Keane was accompanied to court by Los Gatos Police Det. Randy Bishop. Danser says he’s known Bishop for many years and said Monday that Bishop may have been the one who asked him to transfer the case. Gilliam said Danser’s handling of the matter took her by surprise. “I was really concerned because it didn’t smell right. I went back and said something funky is going on here,” Gilliam said. “There was no DA there, and there was no DA file,” she said. “He gives this sentence and there’s no jail time.” Gilliam says that when she questioned the sentence, the judge replied that he “never gives jail time on the first offense.” Gilliam said Danser refused to provide a court transcript and erupted when she repeated her request in open court.

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