Judge Christopher J. Warner
Posted: 04/05/2011 07:54:06 PM PDT
Re: “Former supervisor questions judges; Hansberger: Rulings for Colonies tainted,” April 3.
Writer Joe Nelson asserts that I was not available for comment. That was not and is not true. The implication is that Mr. Nelson wanted my comments. I therefore take this opportunity to provide them in response to the article.
Somewhat coincidentally, on March 24 I made what I then believed would be the last public appearance and statement I would have the opportunity to make in my life as a public servant. This opportunity occurred at a meeting of the Western San Bernardino County Bar Association during which I was honored as Judge of The Year. I report that award not for the purposes of self-aggrandizement, but rather to frame a remark I made at that time.
Colonies was a “west end” case that was reassigned to me at the Central courthouse for purposes of a second trial, consistent with rulings of the Fourth District Court of Appeal. My statement at the March 24 award ceremony was that anyone who wanted to know what I had to say about the Colonies case could “read the 50 pages I wrote” following an extended and complicated trial involving decades of information and documents and complex legal issues.
I have never had any contact with anyone affiliated with Colonies or the San Bernardino County Flood Control District at any time or place outside the San Bernardino Historic Courthouse during the course of the retrial process. While in private practice I represented many county entities and employees, including the Flood Control District. This fact was known to all participants. I did have courtroom acquaintance with one lawyer in the litigation based on a previous case he tried before me, approximately one year earlier. That lawyer is Richard Reuben. I have never had any contact with Mr. Reuben outside the courthouse at any time whatsoever.
Mr. Hansberger’s slurs and implications in the April 3 article are absolutely without merit or substantiation. As he well knows, there is an independent agency in the state of California which exists for the purpose of investigating and resolving complaints against members of the judiciary. That agency is the Commission on Judicial Performance, otherwise known as the CJP (cjp.ca.gov). If Mr. Hansberger truly believed that I had committed any improprieties whatsoever, he could have, should have and, I submit, would have filed a complaint about me with that agency. To do less (nothing), if he had one shred of substance for his suspicions, would have constituted dereliction of his duties as a supervisor.
Had he lodged a complaint, that agency would have undertaken a “microscopic” analysis of me and my conduct. That level of inquiry is appropriate, given the nature of Mr. Hansberger’s slurs and implications to the effect that I violated my oath of office for the purpose of personal gain or favoritism. These are charges of moral turpitude. No complaint was made and no investigation was conducted. Otherwise, I would have been notified.
Judges routinely take slings and arrows of many without comment. That simply comes with the position. However, Mr. Hansberger has sullied my reputation, accusing me of misfeasance or malfeasance in office at a point when my otherwise rewarding and unblemished judicial career has ended. Apparently, he has done so for political gain, to my dismay, and that of everyone who knows me.
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