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Judge & Clerk Sue Sheriff Over Courtroom Shiv Attack By Murder Defendant

Posted Mar 4, 2010 6:20 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Emotionally disabled after a murder defendant leaving the witness stand attacked her with a homemade knife, a now-retired California judge is suing the San Joaquin County sheriff's department over the exactly 1-year-old incident.

Although a Lodi police detective in the Stockton courtroom shot and killed the defendant before then-San Joaquin County Superior Judge Cinda Fox was severely injured, she was unable to return to the bench and has sued over the March 4, 2009 attack by David Paradiso, reports the Record. Her court clerk is also a plaintiff in the case, but three jurors who originally considered suing reportedly have decided not to do so.

Attorney Albert Ellis, who is representing both Fox and the clerk, Christina Romero, says he hopes the case will provide answers about how Paradiso, who was being held in solitary confinement in the county jail, was able to smuggle a shiv into the courtroom. Paradiso's brother says the family called the sheriff's department before the attack and warned that he was making threats and seemingly might have a weapon in jail.

Presiding Judge Robin Appel says a new courthouse under construction and expected to open in 2013 will resolve a number of security issues.

Attorney Chuck Pacheco defended Paradiso, sitting next to him in court.

"I really think that he had intended to use the shank on me," he tells the newspaper, speculating that Paradiso might have intended to win a new trial as a result of the attack. "He wasn't happy with the way things were going."

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Calif. Judge Stabbed By Defendant Is Physically Fine, Struggling Emotionally"

ABAJournal.com: "Emotional Scars of Courtroom Stabbing Prevent Judge’s Return to Bench"

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