Is Nancy Pollard the Archie Bunker of Orange County's court system?
Twice this year, a California Court of Appeal
has rebuked Pollard for making what appellate justices considered anti-immigrant statements during cases.
In the most recent rebuke that took place this morning, justices slammed Pollard for espousing anti-Arab and anti-Latino stereotypes similar to blacks love watermelon and asians aren't trustworthy.
In a domestic violence case involving a Newport Beach white man, Pollard apparently didn't believe the man's assertion of his ethnic heritage.
"I'm concerned about the throwing of rocks and the spitting," Pollard said, according to a court transcript. "I've been doing domestic violence now for 14 years. Usually that is the kind of behavior I see in Middle Eastern clients, but almost--if I read a declaration where they say, 'He spit on me; He threw rocks at me,' almost always it's a Middle Eastern client."
The judge continued, "If the declaration says, "He drags me around the house by the hair,' it's almost always a Hispanic client.'"
Defendant Blake Chenier used Pollard's statements in an attempt to convince the appeals court that she was biased when she issued a five-year restraining order against him after a wild, late-night sex and violence episode involving two women.
Appellate justices were not pleased with Pollard's conduct.
"Such comments suggest ethnic stereotyping that is inconsistent with the fair, impartial, and dispassionate administration of justice," wrote Justice Kathleen O'Leary on behalf of a three-justice panel that also included David G. Sills and Eileen C. Moore. "We caution the trial judge to be more thoughtful in her comments concerning her previous cases and statements concerning her perceptions of race, ethnicity or gender . . . Such statements do not inspire public trust and confidence in our courts."
Nonetheless, the appellate justice upheld Pollard's restraining order because Chenier's lawyer did not timely object to the judge's comments.
But the justices warned Pollard that if she continues to ignore their rebukes, future bigotry "could compel the conclusion" she has "prejudged a case based on ethnicity."
In January, appellate justices decided that Pollard had openly displayed a "cultural bias" against a man from India, noting that even if most judges harbor bias, they "have the good sense" not to display it publicly.
OC has some excellent judges, but has also suffered through some terrible ones, including one who threw African American citizens off his juries and another who liked to get intoxicated during trials. A current judge is known to read poetry out loud from the bench. In perhaps the most alarming case, a high-ranking criminal judge here was caught in a pedophile sting.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly