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Legal Ethics

Judge is asked to apologize to victim’s family for officiating at killer’s wedding after sentencing

Posted Oct 29, 2013 12:50 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A California judge is under fire for marrying a criminal defendant to his longtime girlfriend minutes after sentencing him to 53 years to life for murder.

An attorney for the victim's family has asked Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson to apologize. Paul Kamenar says in a letter to the judge that she caused "emotional pain" to the family and "clearly violated" an ethics rule that says judges should avoid "undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary," the Los Angeles Times (sub. req.) reports.

Kamenar also contended the judge had put herself and court personnel in danger by conducting the ceremony while Danna Desbrow was not handcuffed.

The judge declined to discuss the incident with the family of murder victim Kevin Santos or talk with the newspaper.

The San Diego Union-Tribune says the Santos family also plans to file a judicial ethics complaint against Cookson over her handling of the El Cajon Superior Court case.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "Judge gives murderer 53 years to life, then conducts his marriage ceremony and provides cake"

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