A California Judge recently removed from office by California’s Commission on Judicial Performance, is exercising his right to appeal before the California Supreme Court.
Through his attorney, Randall Miller, Tulare County Superior Court Judge Valeriano Saucedo filed his appeal on Monday, exactly ninety (90) days after the CJP’s removal order of December 1, 2015; Saucedo’s last day in which to file his appeal. Both the California Supreme Court and the CJP would not provide a copy of Saucedo’s petition.
According to CJP statistics, Saucedo is the eleventh judge to be removed from office in California’s history. Of 10 previous removals in CJP history, only eight were appealed to the California Supreme Court. In 2003, Contra Costa Judge Bruce Van Voorhis even appealed his removal all the way to the United States Supreme Court. In all instances, those appeals were denied.
Under right of first response, the CJP’s answer to Saucedo’s appeal is expected sometime in mid April; Saucedo’s reply to it expected in early May. Once the parties’ responses are lodged, the Californian public should find out as early as July or August of this year whether Saucedo’s appeal is successful. Until then, Saucedo continues to collect wages.
Subsequent to public proceedings regarding his amorous pursuit of courtroom clerk, Priscilla Tovar, involving his fabrication of an anonymous control letter to Tovar, showering her with gifts worth thousands, and providing legal advice to her son – Saucedo was found to have also falsely testified before the CJP during a week-long trial in 2015.
In its December, 2015 decision to remove Saucedo from office, the CJP focused on what it characterized as Saucedo’s untruthful testimony.
“The deceitful, calculated, and unseemly nature of the judge’s misconduct, compounded by his lack of candor in response to the commission’s investigation and untruthful testimony under oath before the masters compels our decision to remove Judge Saucedo from office.” (Decision and Order Removing Judge Valeriano Saucedo from Office, p. 2, December 1, 20151)
Judicial removal from the bench is rare, last occurring in 2012 when Judge Richard Stanford of Orange County, California was removed after it came to light he was fixing traffic tickets for family and friends, and “providing unusually lenient dispositions” for select favored. Previous to Stanton’s removal, in 2008 the CJP removed Judge Kelly MacEachern, also of Orange County Superior Court, for intentionally sending a deceitful email regarding education and travel expenses, and for untruthful testimony before the Commission thereafter.
The California Supreme Court’s docket reflects Case No. S232770, Saucedo v. Commission on Judicial Performance, initiated on March 1, 2016 by the filing of Saucedo’s petition for review pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 8.25(b). On March 3, 2016, the record of his removal proceedings before the CJP (2 boxes, consisting of 7 accordion folders and 8 red file folders), were formally lodged with that Supreme Court.
Contemporaneously, Valeriano Saucedo’s actions from the bench are also the subject of challenge in an emerging scandal involving Tulare County Animal Control. On November 24, 2015, Fabricius joined with Wendy Jones in filing Jones et al v. Tulare County et al, Case No. 1 http://cjp.ca.gov/res/docs/removals/Saucedo_12-01-15.pdf 1:2015cv01779, a civil rights matter, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.
Specifically, the complaint asserts that Valeriano Saucedo, during his threats of suicide to Tovar, issued a void order resulting in the taking and destruction of close to thirty ranch dogs belonging to Tulare County resident, William Fabricius of Ducor. Fabricius has joined with Wendy and Brian Jones of Tulare County, who separately claim that TCAC stole and then lost their family dog “Clyde”.
Jones et al comes just after Valeriano Saucedo’s former court clerk, Priscillar Tovar, herself filed a civil rights case against Saucedo in that same federal court; Tovar v. Valeriano Saucedo, Case No. 1:2015at00425, lodged in May of 2015.
Should his appeal fail, Saucedo will become the first judge ever removed from office in Tulare County Superior Court. Previous to Saucedo, Tulare County judges previously admonished by the CJP have been Judges Stephen Drew in 1996, and Howard Broadman in 1998. Broadman was further censured the following year.