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L.A. judge calls deputy's behavior 'unprofessional and inexcusable'

February 27, 2011 |  1:55 pm

As prospective jurors milled about in a court hallway recently to see if they were going to serve on a gang case, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy assigned to the courtroom apparently had no qualms sharing his views of the defendant.

"You can look at him and just see he's guilty," one juror heard him say. The deputy suggested the case was a waste of time, another juror said. "I don't know why we're here anyway," the second juror quoted the deputy as saying. "He's guilty."

The deputy, the juror added, also had some advice for the assembled group: Try to get out of jury service. The two jurors reported what they had heard to the judge overseeing the case, prompting her to excuse the entire panel of jurors and triggering an internal affairs investigation into the deputy's conduct.

Superior Court Judge Elaine Lu described the deputy's behavior as "unprofessional and inexcusable" as she dismissed the jury panel, according to a transcript of the Jan. 26 hearing.

Read more: "Deputy's comments on gang case taint jury panel, sparking investigation."

-- Jack Leonard