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A Los Angeles judge dipped further into hot water with the Commission on Judicial Performance last week for appearing as the judge-host of a would-be TV show called “Mobile Court.” Two years ago, in videotaping a potential series that aimed to have a judge preside at the scene of legal disputes, Superior Court Judge Kevin Ross held “court” — once in a strip club and another time in a neighborhood where vehicles had been vandalized, according to the disciplinary body. The CJP instituted willful misconduct and other charges against Ross in May. On Sept. 1, it added accusations that his appearances on “Mobile Court,” as “Judge Kevin Ross,” violated several sections of the Code of Judicial Ethics. After special masters have a fact-finding hearing, the 11-member commission will hold oral argument and decide whether to dismiss the charges against Ross, or remove, censure or admonish him. According to the charges, an August 2002 article in Variety about syndicated TV shows in development mentioned that Ross would host “Mobile Court.” Under a $5,000 contract, the charges say, Ross presided over disputes for the show in which the parties agreed his decision would be binding. According to the charges, he awarded $1,000 to an “erotic model” who claimed to have been unfairly disqualified from a “Miss Wet on the Net” contest. And in the vandalism case — titled “Revenge and Rotten Eggs” — he awarded the plaintiff $2,175. Apparently, the show was never aired. The commission indicated that TV stations weren’t interested in buying the series. Neither Ross nor his attorney, Edward George Jr. of Long Beach, Calif., could be reached for comment Sept. 1. The commission’s original charges include accusations that Ross discussed pending cases during appearances on public television, appeared on a local radio show when he should have been in court, engaged in ex parte communications with a defendant and became “embroiled” with cases in his court. Ross has admitted committing judicial error in one case, but says it amounted to improper conduct, not willful misconduct, according to his response to the commission. For many of the other accusations, the judge offers detailed explanations for why he doesn’t believe his actions violated ethical canons. And in many cases, he stresses that he was trying to reach out to the community and educate people about the judicial system.

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