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JOHN ROSSI, LONGTIME FIXTURE AT STATE SUPREME COURT, RETIRES After nearly 26 years on the California Supreme Court, John Rossi decided enough was enough. So on Thursday, shortly after handing out paychecks, the 54-year-old retired as the court’s assistant clerk. In his tenure, he served with three chief justices � Rose Bird, Malcolm Lucas and Ronald George � and four clerks of the court. “It was time to let someone else take over,” Rossi said, adding that he wanted to support his wife, Virginia, whose career as an interior designer in Marin County “has taken off.” He’s also looking forward to riding his mountain bike and doing volunteer work. “My stressful days,” he said, “are over.” Rossi said that over the years he’s been excited to be in the thick of things when the court was involved in big issues, such as last year’s gubernatorial recall and this year’s gay marriages. “In my position,” Rossi said, “you are sort of a jack of all trades. You’re all over the board.” Born and raised in San Rafael, he said he got into the court business “strictly by chance.” He’s not a lawyer but has a degree in political science from Sonoma State University. Chief Justice George said Rossi would be missed. “His wealth of knowledge about the court, and its rules and procedures, will be almost impossible to replace,” George said. That’s a problem the court won’t be facing immediately. Supreme Court Clerk and Administrator Frederick Ohlrich said that due to budget constraints, the court will not be hiring Rossi’s replacement for some time.� Mike McKee MENACE II HIS SONS The Hughes brothers are known in Hollywood for their gritty 2000 film “American Pimp,” which documents the history of American pimping. But pimping hasn’t just been a successful film subject for the Detroit-born filmmakers � it’s also been a legal headache. The brothers once told a magazine and a newspaper that their father was a pimp and “dabbled in the pimptorial arts.” But their father was unhappy with the comments, and a protracted legal battle ensued. The brothers were cleared of defamation last week by a three-judge panel of the Second District Court of Appeal. Albert Hughes sued sons Allen and Albert Jr. after the comments appeared in Vanity Fair and USA Today, claiming that the statements were false. But a jury didn’t buy the claim, and the case was appealed. The elder Hughes’ appeal said evidence of past alleged pimping was insufficient and that jurors should have been told that the “defense of truth” could only be established with evidence of current pimping. But the Second District didn’t buy the claim. The Hughes brothers’ attorney, Richard Nakamura Jr. of Los Angeles’ Morris Polich & Purdy, could not be reached for comment. The Hughes brothers started directing music videos when they were 19 and later became film directors. They made the comments during interviews with reporters about a dispute with a producer regarding a story idea. The Hughes brothers have directed such well-known films as “From Hell,” and were behind urban dramas like “Dead Presidents” and “Menace II Society.” The case is Hughes v. Hughes, 04 C.D.O.S. 8878. � Justin M. Norton PLEASE IGNORE THAT DECISION The Second District Court of Appeal took the unusual step of expunging from the record its Sept. 21 opinion in People v. Vasquez, 04 C.D.O.S. 8896, a case involving the killing of an L.A. county gang member by rivals. The court re-issued its opinion Sept. 28 with a note to publishers to vacate the court’s original opinion and delete the record from all databases. The new opinion is identical to the earlier version except that it no longer includes the name of appellant Andrew Vasquez’s stepfather, a longtime prosecutor in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Vasquez’s family had expressed concerns that he would be a target while serving his 15-years-to-life sentence if fellow inmates prosecuted by the stepfather found out about the family connection. Nancy King, the attorney for Vasquez, has filed a motion to rehear the case on the grounds that the appellate court erred in not finding that the county prosecutor should have been recused from the trial, particularly since the defendant’s mother also served as an administrator in the county DA’s office for more than a decade. The appellate court found that the trial court “abused its discretion in denying recusal in this case” but found it was harmless error. Vasquez’s first trial ended in a hung jury; a second trial resulted in a conviction for second-degree murder � “a fair offer,” in the opinion of the court. King says she may ask the state Supreme Court to hear the case if her petition for a rehearing is denied.� Jill Duman

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