Labor & Employment

Convicted judge can't get pension back, even after felony is reduced to a misdemeanor

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Convicted in 2004 of one felony and multiple misdemeanors for giving preferential treatment to friends and local sports team members in traffic ticket and driving-under-the-influence cases, a former California judge had hoped to get his pension back after the trial court reduced the lone felony to a misdemeanor.

However, a state appeals court nixed that possibility Tuesday, ruling that onetime Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge William Danser didn’t qualify for a restoration of his pension benefits. State lawmakers had intended that conduct such as his be punished in this manner, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

The applicable statute “is designed to protect the public by requiring civil consequences under circumstances such as those presented in this case,” said the Sacramento-based Third District Court of Appeal in a written opinion authored by Justice Louis Mauro. “The dismissal of the case in October 2006 did not erase the fact that a jury found Danser guilty of a crime punishable as a felony, and it did not alter the civil consequences flowing from the jury’s verdict.”

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