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OAKLAND — Alameda County Superior Court Judge Jackson Gifford was charged with soliciting prostitution on Friday after his arrest in a police sting Wednesday. Gifford will be arraigned on the misdemeanor charge March 19, court documents say. According to police reports from the videotaped sting operation, the 76-year-old judge, who presides in the Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in Oakland, was driving on San Pablo Avenue in his gold Cadillac Northstar on Wednesday evening. He pulled up to a female police decoy standing on the corner of San Pablo and Brockhurst St. “Do you want a date?” she asked, according to the report. “Yeah,” Gifford replied. “You got a place to go?” “Yeah. My house.” “Okay. Where’s that?” “Over by Lake Merritt.” “What do you want? A blow job?” she asked. “Half and half,” the judge said, referring to the street parlance for half oral sex and half regular sex. The decoy said that it would cost the judge $40 and directed him to meet her at the corner of San Pablo and 33rd Street. That’s where authorities arrested Gifford, the police report said. Gifford could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. The Oakland jurist was appointed to the municipal court in 1981 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, and was elevated when the superior and municipal courts unified in 1998. He was in private practice in Oakland from 1959 to 1981, handling criminal and civil cases as a solo practitioner. Gifford did not hear cases on Friday and will be on vacation until the end of the month, said Assistant Court Executive Officer Joanne Lederman. Although court documents say Gifford will be arraigned in Dept. 107, the courthouse where he presides, Lederman said it’s likely that the hearing will be transferred to another courthouse. District Attorney Thomas Orloff said that a prosecutor had not been assigned to the case yet. He declined to comment further on the case. The case is People v. Gifford, 496589.

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