Sunday, February 27, 2005

In Re Wagner (Cal. Ct. App. - February 24, 2005)

This case is worth at least brief mention for two reasons. First, Justice Rylaarsdam holds (at pages 10-11) that although several California statutes (including Section 1203.097 of the Penal Code) permit judges to require a defendant to make payments to various charities as a condition of probation, the California Code of Judicial Ethics precludes the sentencing judge from designating the particular charity to which that payment must be made. Which seems right to me, for the precise reasons Justice Rylaarsdam cogently explains.

Second, Justice Rylaarsdam's opinion slams the trial judge, Judge Pamela Iles, fairly hard, particularly for her overly personal involvement in this matter. And again I pretty much agreed with him. It looks like Judge Iles has received a fair number of awards, and may well be a talented jurist. But sometimes judges let emotions get the better of them, and this appears to be one of those times.