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DANSER CLAMS UP TO CJP, CITES THE FIFTH Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge William Danser is taking the Fifth in response to judicial watchdog charges of ticket-fixing and other bad behavior. Danser, who faces criminal and ethics charges for ticket fixing, asserted his constitutional right not to incriminate himself this month. Danser’s attorney, James Murphy, said his client can’t answer Commission on Judicial Performance charges until his client stands trial on the parallel criminal charges. Both the CJP and the California Supreme Court have already rejected Murphy’s request to halt the CJP hearings. In papers, Murphy, with Murphy, Pearson, Bradley & Feeney, said the CJP and the Santa Clara district attorney have already swapped tips, and he doesn’t want any more information from the CJP investigation to surface at the criminal trial. Danser was indicted last September after prosecutors were tipped off by the CJP. The CJP charged Danser with six ethical violations this winter, adding three additional charges after being tipped off by prosecutors. — Shannon Lafferty PD OPENS NEW DIGS FOR JUVENILE COURT LAWYERS Showerheads are one thing you won’t find at the new offices for the San Francisco public defender’s juvenile division. Explaining why they needed an additional location, public defenders are quick to point to the shower fixtures in the old office at the Youth Guidance Center. Managing attorney Patricia Lee notes that three showerheads were protruding in one office in the basement space before Public Defender Jeff Adachi and his father put up material to conceal them. “Can you imagine bringing kids and family members into the shower room?” she said. “Not a good message we want to send our clients.” At an after-work party Wednesday to cut the ribbon for the new offices — tucked next to a small events center in a little building near the Youth Guidance Center on Laguna Honda Blvd. — Adachi drew a parallel to the efforts of one of his predecessors, Jeff Brown, who moved the main offices out of the Hall of Justice to Seventh Street around 1985. Clients shouldn’t have to visit their defense attorneys in the same place they go to court, Adachi said. “It’s important that the public defender be perceived as not being connected to the �system.’” And it’s not bad to get your own office, either. Deputy Public Defender William Maas Jr. said he’s looking forward to being able to close the door, and even meditate, before heading to court. Eight public defender employees will work in the new offices, and another seven will stay behind in the old ones, Lee said. Adachi says he’s covering the rent for the new site by leasing out space in the public defender’s main office. He also cashed in some favors and shopped online for bargains to spruce up the new location. The boyfriend of someone in his office works at a glass company that donated materials and labor to build a conference room; and Lee and others donated money for furniture, Adachi said. For desks bought off eBay, the third time was the charm: The first set got lost in shipping; the second was dropped and destroyed. — Pam Smith JUSTICE TOSSES A LIFELINE, WHICH LAWYER IGNORES California Supreme Court Justice Joyce Kennard tossed a bone to a lawyer in an oral argument last week, but the guy just wouldn’t bite. Woodland Hills solo practitioner Jerome Zamos obviously didn’t realize that Kennard was offering help on March 9, when she asked whether the state’s public policy against the filing of frivolous lawsuits shouldn’t also apply if a case is found to have no merit once under way. Zamos, who got an appeal court to rule last year that lawyers could be liable for malicious prosecution if they pursue suits after discovery reveals no viable claim, even tried to palm the question off on opposing lawyer James Stroud. Zamos had sued Stroud, a partner in Van Nuys’ Stroud & Do, for malicious prosecution. A befuddled Kennard finally shifted in her seat and sighed with frustration. “I thought I was trying to give you an argument that would have you say, �I completely agree,’” she said. But, she added, Zamos instead resisted the assist, and tried to hand it over to Stroud. Why? As a flustered Zamos tried to regroup, several of the justices, and most of the courtroom audience, laughed. Once he realized Kennard was on his side, Zamos answered the justice’s initial query: “Yes, I completely agree,” he said. The case is Zamos v. Stroud, S118032. — Mike McKee CJP CONSIDERING RULE CHANGE FOR RETIRED JUDGES The Commission on Judicial Performance wants more power to disclose whether judges have been naughty or nice. The CJP is weighing a new rule that would allow it to tell other government agencies about alleged judicial misconduct “in the interest of justice” after a judge retires, said Victoria Henley, director and chief counsel of the CJP. Right now, the state watchdog agencies’ hands are tied if the complaint comes after the judge leaves the bench. “Some judges retire because there is a problem,” said Henley. This way, another agency, such as the Fair Political Practices Commission, could follow up on it, she said. The CJP will only pass on complaints that the judge has had an opportunity to respond to, she added. Attorneys for judges say the change is unfair. It’s bad enough that the CJP gets to pass along complaints that didn’t result in discipline. Allowing the CJP to pass on complaints made after a jurist leaves the bench is even worse, they say. “This is a system where anyone can make a complaint,” said Joseph McMonigle, a Long & Levit partner who represents judges. Another less controversial proposal would apply to judges who are in the assigned judges program and would allow the CJP to release information to Chief Justice Ronald George. Under the old rules, the judge would have to authorize release of the information. The commission is accepting public comment on the rule changes until May 7. The panel will vote on the issue in June or July, Henley said. — Jahna Berry

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