- The Trial Court referred to the Court of Appeals -- that is, the one that would review this case, as a "kangaroo court. (Not only is this unethical and pejorative, but for reasons of California law it made various inferences that were substantively incorrect.)"
- The defendant was sentenced to prison for a crime that he was not convicted of.
- Counsel for defendant filed the California equivalent of an Anders brief, and only briefed the issues discovered by an awake law clerk after being asked to.
Since I don't practice in California, I don't really know who the players are and their personalities, but someone sure got bench-slapped, and accused of wasting taxpayer money, and rightly so!
But, this raises the question, how often are similar things happening? Is this just the tip of the iceberg. Has this trial judge, who so flippantly disregarded just about everything we hold dear done it before? Are there judges that are better at concealing their practices?
Comment: Most of the commentary has centered around the fact that the lower court judge is effectively punished for speaking his mind about the appellate court. Somewhere along the line, our rules of professional ethics have managed to institutionalize a culture where attorneys and judges are unable or unwilling to criticize politically popular decisions. Let's face it, we all know that some courts are made up of judges will little or no experience representing the dregs of the country and have a solid record of screwing the poor. Are we just support to ignore this? Can we not tell these courts that they need to break from their patterns?
And, let's stop lying about it: judges and lawyers are constantly calling each others names. They call each other "results oriented," "activist," and "stupid" all the time. Anyone who claims that they know of a chambers where people don't use these words is mistaken.