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Five Letters to the Daily Journal That We Agreed With

      I was extremely disappointed by the manner in which the Daily Journal chose to report the opinion in Haluck v. Ricoh Inc. G035681. The plaintiff's appeal was based on judicial misconduct, a view that the appeals court agreed with. Your paper is influential in the legal community, and by focusing on the humor angle, you do a disservice to your readers. In essence, you excuse and minimize Judge James M. Brooks' misconduct by portraying this as a comedy routine gone bad. Many lawyers and litigants spend countless hours and countless thousands of dollars to have their day in court; the least your paper could [do] is illuminate the extreme seriousness of what this opinion really means.  Patrick Turner, Lake Forest, CA

      Judge James M. Brooks was far from discreet, and this 30-day trial was far from a "stab at comedy." It was an abomination, and such conduct easily could have swayed the jury. Fortunately, the Court of Appeal remanded and ordered that the case be retried with a different judge. Robert F. Cohen San Francisco, CA
      
      Given this article's cavalier attitude towards plaintiffs who are trying to enforce the civil rights of all of us, it is no wonder that every whistle-blower I have represented has told me that, even though they obtained a good recovery through trial or settlement of their case, no amount of money could compensate them adequately for the harm they suffered. ... It is a scandal that judges such as Judge James M. Brooks (whose track record of ignored admonishments shows that he clearly lacks a proper judicial temperament) are allowed to remain on the bench. Joan Herrington Oakland, CA
      
      I am extremely offended by the Daily Journal's lighthearted spin on judicial misconduct as expressed in today's (June 5, 2007) article "Judge's Stab at Comedy Was a Legal Flop, Panel Rules." What plaintiffs' counsel Michelle Reinglass, her clients and the jury witnessed was not, as Amy Yarbrough suggests, a stab at comedy that flopped; instead, it was egregious misconduct aimed solely at belittling and disparaging plaintiffs' counsel and her clients.
      The Daily Journal failed to report the true spirit of the Court of Appeal opinion: outrage and shock at the egregious judicial misconduct of Orange County Superior Court Judge James M. Brooks. The Court of Appeal did not think Brooks' behavior was funny. On the contrary, here are examples of the court's comments: "The delineated exchanges between the court and counsel are antithesis of judicial decorum and courtesy. ... A trial is not a sporting event"; "A courtroom is not the Improv and the presider's role model is not Judge Judy. We can only imagine what was in the jurors' minds as they endured a 30-plus day trial in this atmosphere or the impression of the judicial system they took away with them posttrial."
      The Daily Journal missed an opportunity to comment on the effects of judicial misconduct on our judicial system. Eugenia Hicks, Beverly Hills, CA

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