Mendocino District Attorney Bars Judge from Hearing Criminal Cases involving Animal Cruelty or Use of Firearms

The following press released was issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:

Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster announced Monday morning that — effective immediately — he has directed all of his deputy prosecutors to file peremptory challenges to disqualify and prevent Superior Court Judge Clayton Brennan from hearing any pending criminal case or future cases that will be filed in which a defendant is charged with animal cruelty.

Likewise, the DA has also directed his deputy prosecutors to file peremptory challenges to disqualify and prevent Judge Brennan from hearing any criminal case in which the DA has alleged that the defendant personally used a firearm in the commission of a felony.

California jurisprudence and statutory law allows District Attorneys to refuse to accept a judge on a particular case or certain types of cases if it is believed that the judge is “so biased against the People that he or she cannot be entrusted with the fair administration of justice,” Eyster said.

In issuing his directive, the DA continued, “The judge currently sitting in the Ten Mile court house in Fort Bragg has betrayed community standards and community trust. He has made it abundantly clear that he has no use for, does not value, and is biased against law enforcement and the community’s ongoing efforts to seek justice against those who victimize animals and use firearms to commit felonies. Accordingly, I deem him legally unfit to sit as a judge on the types of criminal cases described above.”

When asked if the peremptory challenges to Judge Brennan will occur only in cases involving animal cruelty or cases where it has been charged that the defendant has personally used a firearm, DA Eyster replied that — for the moment – the question of whether or not the scope and definition of cases for which Judge Brennan will be disqualified remains an open question being evaluated by the DA and his senior attorneys.

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