Federal judge, 76, takes lawyers on skid row tour

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A federal judge in Santa Ana, California, recently took lawyers in his courtroom on a skid row tour, so they could see for themselves whether new hand-washing stations were in working condition.

U.S. District Judge David Carter, 76, may be at high risk if he contracts COVID-19 because of his age. But that didn’t stop him from leading the tour, the Los Angeles Times reports. He wore an N95 mask but pulled it back so people could hear him. He wore gloves but shook hands with homeless people.

Carter knew that many hand-washing stations had no water in them because he had previously checked them.

Carter is overseeing a lawsuit against the city and county of Los Angeles that seeks services and shelter for homeless people. The suit was filed by the L.A. Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition of residents and business owners, Courthouse News Service previously reported.

Carter’s associates told the Los Angeles Times that they think the judge sees the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to help homeless people. He previously presided in a case in which homeless advocates sued over the removal of people from a riverside encampment. Carter helped oversee a settlement that led to more shelter beds.

Carter told the Los Angeles Tines that he does get tested regularly for COVID-19. His wife, Mary Ellen, is sleeping in a separate bedroom as a precaution.

Carter is a former Marine who was wounded in the Vietnam War. His wife told the Los Angeles Times that he has always told her: “Mary Ellen, I shouldn’t be here. I fought in the war, and I’m not afraid like other people. This doesn’t frighten me. I’ve been given this second chance.”

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