While I enjoyed your article on Judge James Petrucelli’s serious judicial misconduct (Aug. 19), I feel the need to weigh in on the ruling by the Commission on Judicial Performance.
Removal from the bench, and not simply censuring Judge Petrucelli, is the only fair remedy for his actions. Individuals empowered to administer justice must be held to the highest standards.
What troubles me most is the nature of the offenses allegedly committed by defendant Jay Ghazal. This was no simple assault. Mr. Ghazal was facing charges of corporal injury, false imprisonment, dissuading a witness from reporting a crime and disobeying a court order. Mr. Ghazal was deemed a viable threat to society. Nevertheless, he received an “honor release.”
Taking judicial action in a matter not assigned to him, failing to warn his friend, attorney Jonathan Netzer, of the impropriety in asking for a release on the defendant’s own recognizance, and admittedly being “unaware” of the law requiring the prosecution’s presence at a public hearing before a potential release of the defendant clearly indicate the judge’s intention to offer special treatment to a friend.
If, as the judge claims, other Fresno County judges have done the same thing, I hope the commission investigates their actions.
Michael Carlson, Merced