Lindsay Lohan judges disciplined by state for handling of DUI case
Two veteran Los Angeles County judges were disciplined by a state oversight panel for their handling of the high-profile DUI case of actress Lindsay Lohan, according to documents obtained by The Times.
The documents revealed that L.A. County Superior Court judges Marsha Revel and Elden Fox at the Beverly Hills courthouse were reproached by the state's Commission on Judicial Performance for two incidents that occurred during a period of intense media attention in 2010, culminating in the star's two-week term behind bars.
The commission acted on accusations that Revel improperly met alone with an attorney who wanted to take over Lohan's defense, and that Fox erred in denying the actress bail on a relatively minor charge and refusing to hear her attorney's arguments.
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The commission's involvement in Lohan's case was spurred, at least in part, by a complaint filed in January 2011 by former Los Angeles County court spokesman Allan Parachini soon after he was fired for allegedly leaking information to the media. Parachini denied the leak and accused the court of discriminating against him because he suffers from severe depression.
In his letter to the commission, Parachini said he witnessed impropriety by Revel and Fox that he said was "due, in part, to the reality that many judges get caught up in celebrity litigation and part company with their experience and common sense." The commission responded in a letter dated Dec. 19 that the agency had "taken an appropriate corrective action as to each judge named" in Parachini's complaint.
The agency's annual report includes summaries of private discipline cases without naming the judges or parties involved. Two case descriptions included in the 2011 report closely mirrored Revel and Fox's handling of Lohan's case, suggesting that the judges received "advisory letters," the lowest level of discipline.
One judicial expert compared the commission's action to a "wrist-slap" but said the judges' conduct involved "fairly basic" legal mistakes.
Revel did not respond to requests for comment. Fox declined to comment, saying he would not confirm that he had been disciplined, but added: "You can read about it in the commission's report."
— Victoria Kim
Photo: Actress Lindsay Lohan listens to her attorney Shawn Holley during her probation status hearing in October 2011. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times