Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John David Lord has been publicly admonished for his conduct when presiding over a misdemeanor domestic violence case about three years ago, the state’s Commission on Judicial Performance announced Wednesday.
The commission found that the judge’s comments to a reporter that were subsequently published in a March 26, 2015, article in the Grunion Gazette newspaper — after the defendant was convicted but while he was still awaiting a hearing on his motion for a new trial — violated a canon barring public comment by jurists on pending cases.
The judge subsequently made a “discourteous remark” in open court about the domestic violence victim being as “white as a piece of Wonder Bread,” according to the commission’s decision and order imposing public admonishment.
“In considering the appropriate level of discipline, Judge Lord’s prior discipline was a significant factor in the commission’s determination,” according to the decision. “In 2016, Judge Lord received a private admonishment addressing his conduct that gave rise to an appearance of embroilment with a criminal defense attorney, including his improper initiation of a contempt proceeding against that attorney, which the judge never resolved.”
The judge had also received an advisory letter in 2011 for “making statements in the presence of the jury to the effect” that a criminal defendant acting as his own attorney was misrepresenting facts and engaging in “gamesmanship,” according to the document, which says “Lord’s conduct was, at a minimum, improper action.”
A half-dozen of the commission’s members voted in favor of the public admonishment, while two voted in favor of Lord being privately admonished.