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State panel admonishes O.C. judge for racial remarks

July 13, 2011 |  4:29 pm

An Orange County judge has been admonished by the state judicial commission over remarks deemed offensive to Latinos and Middle Easterners. 

Superior Court Judge Nancy Pollard was publicly admonished by the Commission on Judicial Performance, which investigates judicial misconduct and disciplines judges.

According to a commission report, Pollard was presiding over a hearing in 2009 involving an unmarried couple that had broken up amid threats, rock throwing and hair pulling.

Pollard asked the boyfriend where he was born. When he replied, “Newport Beach,” she said: “Usually that is the kind of behavior I see in Middle Eastern clients. … If the declaration says, ‘He drags me around the house by the hair,’ it’s almost always a Hispanic client.”

Later in the same case, the commission stated, Pollard violated the judiciary’s canon of impartiality. Before the boyfriend had had a chance to testify or present any evidence in his behalf, Pollard took the girlfriend’s side, stating at one point: “The issue is he spit on her, he choked her, he pushed her, he threw protein powder all over the room, and he destroyed a lot of expensive property.”

In addition, the commission said Pollard abused her authority in a separate family-law trial in 2005. Pollard ordered a mistrial when the trial did not end within the five hours she had set for its completion, the report stated.

“The judge took this action although only a few more hours of anticipated testimony remained,” according to the commission’s report.

The commission called Pollard’s behavior in the cases “at a minimum, improper action and dereliction of duty.”

Pollard has served on the bench since 1997; her current term began in 2009.


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