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McBrien_01-05-10

McBrien_01-05-10

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Published by Angela Angiemedia
This is the public censure of Judge Peter James McBrien by the California Commission on Judicial Performance due to his misconduct in the Ulf and Mona Carlsson divorce case in which he wrongly threatened an attorney and abruptly terminated the trial prematurely. He then issued a decision without providing due process opportunity for Ulf Carlsson's attorney to put on his side of the case. Other misconduct includes inappropriate use of records in an attack on Ulf Carlsson that got him fired from his job
This is the public censure of Judge Peter James McBrien by the California Commission on Judicial Performance due to his misconduct in the Ulf and Mona Carlsson divorce case in which he wrongly threatened an attorney and abruptly terminated the trial prematurely. He then issued a decision without providing due process opportunity for Ulf Carlsson's attorney to put on his side of the case. Other misconduct includes inappropriate use of records in an attack on Ulf Carlsson that got him fired from his job

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Published by: Angela Angiemedia on Aug 03, 2010
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10/25/2012

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S T A T E
O F
C A L I F O R N I A
B E F O R E T H E C O M M I S S I O N
O N
J U D I C I A L
P E R F O R M A N C E
I N Q U I R Y
C O N C E R N I N G
J U D G E
P E T E R
J .
M c B R I E N ,
N o .
1 8 5
D E C I S I O N
A N D
O R D E R
I M P O S I N G
P U B L I C
C E N S U R E
I N T R O D U C T I O N
A N D
S U M M A R Y
T h i s
d i s c i p l i n a r y
m a t t e r
c o n c e r n s
J u d g e
P e t e r
J .
M c B r i e n ,
a
j u d g e
o f
t h e
S a c r a m e n t o
C o u n t y
S u p e r i o r
C o u r t .
J u d g e
M c B r i e n w a s
a p p o i n t e d
t o
t h e
m u n i c i p a l
c o u r t
i n
1 9 8 7
a n d
b e c a m e
a
s u p e r i o r c o u r t
j u d g e
i n
1 9 8 9 .
W h i l e
p r e s i d i n g
o v e r
af a m i l y
l a w
m a t t e r
o v e r
ap e r i o d
o f
m o n t h s ,
J u d g e
M c B r i e n
e n g a g e d
i n
a
c o u r s e
o f
s e r i o u s
m i s c o n d u c t
w h i c h
r e n d e r e d
t h e
t r i a l
f u n d a m e n t a l l y
u n f a i r ,
d e n i e d
a
l i t i g a n t
h i s
d u e
p r o c e s s
r i g h tt o
c o m p l e t e
h i s
p r e s e n t a t i o n
o f
e v i d e n c e ,
a n d
c u l m i n a t e d
i n
t h e
j u d g e ' s l e n g t h y
i n v e s t i g a t i o n
o f
a
l i t i g a n t ' s
p o s s i b l e
v i o l a t i o n
o f
t h e
l a w
w i t h o u t
d i s c l o s i n g
h i s
a c t i o n s
t o
t h e
p a r t i e s .
W e
c o n c l u d e
t h a t
a
s e v e r ep u b l i c
c e n s u r e
i s
w a r r a n t e d b a s e d
o n
t h e g r a v i t y
o f
t h i s
m i s c o n d u c t , c o u p l e d w i t h
J u d g e M c B r i e n ' s
p e r v a s i v e
l a c k
o f
a c c o u n t a b i l i t y
a n d
i n s i g h ti n t o
t h e
i m p r o p r i e t y
o f
h i s
c o n d u c t .
T h e
c o m m i s s i o n
c o m m e n c e d
t h i s
i n q u i r y
w i t h
t h e
f i l i n g
o f
i t s
N o t i c e
o f
F o r m a l
P r o c e e d i n g s
( N o t i c e )
o n S e p t e m b e r
2 5 , 2 0 0 8 .
T h e
S u p r e m e
C o u r ta p p o i n t e d
t h r e es p e c i a l
m a s t e r s
w h o
h e l d
a n
e v i d e n t i a r y
h e a r i n g
a n d
r e p o r t e d
t o
t h e
c o m m i s s i o n .
T h e
m a s t e r s
a r e
H o n . D e n n i s
A .
C o r n e l l ,
J u s t i c e
o f
t h e
C o u r t
o f
A p p e a l ,
F i f t h
A p p e l l a t e
D i s t r i c t ,
H o n .
G a i l A n d l e r ,
J u d g e o f
t h e
O r a n g e C o u n t y
S u p e r i o r C o u r t ,
a n d H o n .
D e n i s e
d e
B e l l e f e u i l l e ,
J u d g e o f
t h e
S a n t a B a r b a r a
C o u n t y
S u p e r i o r
C o u r t .
J u d g e
M c B r i e n
i s
r e p r e s e n t e d
b y J a m e s
A .
M u r p h y
o f M u r p h y ,
P e a r s o n ,
B r a d l e y
&
F e e n e y
i n
S a n
F r a n c i s c o ,
C a l i f o r n i a .
T h e
e x a m i n e r s
f o r
t h e
 
c o m m i s s i o n
a r e
C o m m i s s i o n
T r i a l
C o u n s e l
A n d r e w B l u m
a n d
C o m m i s s i o n
A s s i s t a n t
T r i a l
C o u n s e l
V a l e r i e
M a r c h a n t .
A
t h r e e - d a y
e v i d e n t i a r y
h e a r i n g
w a s
h e l d
i n
S a c r a m e n t o
o n
A p r i l
1 - 3 , 2 0 0 9 ,
f o l l o w e d
b y
a n
o r a l
a r g u m e n t
i n
S a n
F r a n c i s c o
o n
M a y
2 9 , 2 0 0 9 .
T h e
m a s t e r s '
r e p o r t
t o
t h e
c o m m i s s i o n
c o n t a i n i n g
t h e i r
f i n d i n g s
o f
f a c t
a n d
c o n c l u s i o n s
o f
l a w
w a s
f i l e d
o n
J u n e
2 3 ,
2 0 0 9 .
T h e
r e p o r t i n c l u d e s a
c o n c u r r e n c e
a n d
d i s s e n t
b y
J u d g e
A n d l e r .
T h e
N o t i c ec h a r g e s
J u d g e
M c B r i e n
i n
C o u n t
I A 1
w i t h
t h e
f o l l o w i n g
f o u r
i n s t a n c e s
o f m i s c o n d u c t
i n h i s
h a n d l i n g
o f
t h e d i s s o l u t i o n
m a t t e r
o f
M o n a
L e a
C a r l s s o n
v .
U l f J o h a n
C a r l s s o n
o v e r
ap e r i o d
o f
m o n t h s :
1 .
T e r m i n a t i n g
a n d a b a n d o n i n g
t h e
t r i a l
b e f o r e
M r .
C a r l s s o n
h a d
c o m p l e t e d
h i s
c a s e
a n d
w i t h o u t
o f f e r i n g
t h e p a r t i e s
a n
o p p o r t u n i t y
t o
p r e s e n t
a d d i t i o n a l
e v i d e n c e
i n
v i o l a t i o n
o f
t h e
p a r t i e s '
r i g h t t o
d u e
p r o c e s s .
2 .
T h r e a t e n i n g
M r .
C a r l s s o n ' s
a t t o r n e y ,
S h a r o n
H u d d l e ,w i t h
c o n t e m p t
i f
h e r
c l i e n t
d i dn o t
p r o d u c e
h i s
S t a t e m e n t
o f
E c o n o m i c
I n t e r e s t s .
T h e
d o c u m e n t s
w e r e
r e q u e s t e d
b y
J u d g e
M c B r i e n
e v e n
t h o u g h
t h e y
w e r e
n o to f f e r e d
b y
e i t h e r
p a r t y o r
r e l e v a n t
t o
t h e
p r o c e e d i n g s .
3 .
R e q u e s t i n g
a
c o p y
o f
t h e
t r a n s c r i p t
o f
M r .
C a r l s s o n ' s
t e s t i m o n y
c o n c e r n i n g
h i s r e a l
e s t a t e
o w n e r s h i p a n d
h i s
d i s c l o s u r e s
o n
h i s
S t a t e m e n t
o f
E c o n o m i c
I n t e r e s t s
a n d
s e n d i n g
t h e
t r a n s c r i p t t o
M r .
C a r l s s o n ' s
e m p l o y e r ,
S t a t e
o f
C a l i f o r n i a
D e p a r t m e n t o f
G e n e r a l
S e r v i c e s
( D G S ) .
M r .
C a r l s s o n
w a s
t e r m i n a t e d
f r o m
h i s
e m p l o y m e n t
a s
a
r e s u l t
o f
i n f o r m a t i o np r o v i d e d
b y
J u d g e M c B r i e n . J u d g e
M c B r i e n
c o n t i n u e d
t o
p r e s i d e
o v e r
t h e
c a s e
w i t h o u t
d i s c l o s i n g
t o
t h e
p a r t i e s h i s
a c t i o n s
w i t h
r e g a r d
t o
t h e
t r a n s c r i p t .
'
O n
t h e
f i r s t
d a yo f
t h e
e v i d e n t i a r y
h e a r i n g ,
t w o
o t h e r
c o u n t s
c h a r g e d
i n
t h e
N o t i c e
w e r e
d i s m i s s e d
o n
t h e
m o t i o n o f
t h e
e x a m i n e r
( R u l e s
o f
t h e
C o m m i s s i o n
o n
J u d i c i a l
P e r f o r m a n c e ,
r u l e
1 2 8
( b ) ) .
 
4 .
B e i n g
d i s c o u r t e o u s
a n d
i m p a t i e n t
t o w a r dM r .
C a r l s s o n ' s
a t t o r n e y
a n d
c u r t a i l i n g
t h e
p a r t i e s '
r i g h t t o
p r e s e n t
e v i d e n c e
b y
r e p e a t e d l y
t h r e a t e n i n g
a
m i s t r i a l
i f
t h e
p r o c e e d i n g s
w e r e
n o t
c o n c l u d e d
q u i c k l y
e n o u g h .
E a c h
o f
t h e s e
c h a r g e s h a s
b e e n p r o v e n
b y
c l e a r
a n d
c o n v i n c i n g e v i d e n c e
a t
t h e
h e a r i n g b e f o r e
t h e
s p e c i a l
m a s t e r s .
J u d g eM c B r i e n ' s
a c t i o n s
c o n s t i t u t e
o n e
i n s t a n c e
o f
w i l l f u l
m i s c o n d u c t
( I A ( 3 ) ) ,
t w o
i n s t a n c e s
o f
p r e j u d i c i a l
m i s c o n d u c t
( I A ( 1 )
&
( 2 ) )
a n d o n e
i n s t a n c e
o f i m p r o p e r
a c t i o n
( I A ( 4 ) ) .
I I
F I N D I N G S
O F F A C T
A N D
C O N C L U S I O N S O F
L A W
T h e
c o m m i s s i o n ,
t h r o u g h
i t s
e x a m i n e r , h a s
t h e
b u r d e n
o f
p r o v i n g
t h e
c h a r g e s
a g a i n s t
J u d g e
M c B r i e n
b y
c l e a r
a n d
c o n v i n c i n g
e v i d e n c e .
{ B r o a d m a n
v .
C o m m i s s i o no n
J u d i c i a l
P e r f o r m a n c e
( 1 9 9 8 )
1 8C a l . 4 t h1 0 7 9 ,
1 0 9 0
{ B r o a d m a n ) . )
" E v i d e n c e
o f
ac h a r g e
i s
c l e a r
a n d
c o n v i n c i n gs ol o n g
a s t h e r e
i s
a' h i g h
p r o b a b i l i t y 't h a t
t h e
c h a r g e
i s
t r u e . "
{ I b i d . )
F a c t u a l
f i n d i n g s
o f
t h e
m a s t e r s
a r e
e n t i t l e d t o
g r e a t
w e i g h t b e c a u s e
t h e
m a s t e r s
h a v e
" t h e
a d v a n t a g e
o f
o b s e r v i n gt h e
d e m e a n o r
o f
t h e w i t n e s s e s . "
{ F l e t c h e r
v .
C o m m i s s i o n
o n
J u d i c i a l
P e r f o r m a n c e
( 1 9 9 8 )
1 9 C a l . 4 t h 8 6 5 ,
8 7 8
{ F l e t c h e r ) )
T h e
f i n d i n g s
o f
f a c ti n
t h i s
d e c i s i o n
a r e
a d o p t e d
f r o m
t h e
f a c t u a l
f i n d i n g s
o f
t h e
m a s t e r s
w h i c h
w e
h a v ed e t e r m i n e d
a r e
s u p p o r t e d
b y
c l e a r
a n d
c o n v i n c i n g e v i d e n c e
b a s e d
o n
o u r
o w n
r e v i e w
o f
t h e
r e c o r d . 2
T h e
f a c t s
a s t o
e a c h
c o u n t
h a v e b e e n
s u m m a r i z e d
a n d
p a r a p h r a s e d
f r o m
t h e m a s t e r s '
f i n d i n g s .
W e
a d o p t
t h e
m a s t e r s ' c o n c l u s i o n s
o f
l a w ,
e x c e p t
f o r
c o u n t s
I A ( 2 )
a n d
I A ( 3 )
o n
w h i c h
w e
r e a c h
o u r
o w n
c o n c l u s i o n s
o f l a w
b a s e d
o n
o u r i n d e p e n d e n t r e v i e w
o f
t h e
r e c o r d
a n d
t h e l a w .
( S e e
I b i d ,
[ c o m m i s s i o n
h a s
e x p e r t i s e
w i t h
r e s p e c t
t o l e g a lc o n c l u s i o n s ] . )
2
A l l
r e f e r e n c e s
t o
t h e
m a s t e r s '
f a c t u a l
f i n d i n g s
a n d
l e g a l
c o n c l u s i o n s
a r e
t o
t h o s e
o f
t h e m a j o r i t y .
T h e
c o n c u r r i n g
a n d
d i s s e n t i n g r e p o r t
f o u n d
t h e
e x a m i n e r
f a i l e dt o
p r o v e c o u n tI A ( 4 )
a n d
c o n c l u d e d
t h a t
J u d g e
M c B r i e n
e n g a g e d
i n
o n e
i n s t a n c e
o f
p r e j u d i c i a l
m i s c o n d u c t
( I A ( 1 ) )
a n dt w o
i n s t a n c e s
o f i m p r o p e r
a c t i o n
( I A ( 2 )
&
( 3 ) ) .

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