Alameda County

Examining Alameda County District Attorney's Attempt to Disqualify Judge

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Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price has now taken what many are calling extraordinary measures to prevent a county judge from hearing any criminal case.

In a unprecedented move, Price said in a pre-taped video statement posted online Wednesday that she will push to remove judge Mark McCannon from every criminal case in Alameda County.

The move comes weeks after McCannon rejected a 15-year plea deal for a man accused of a triple murder, saying it was too lenient. Price declined NBC Bay Area’s interview request Thursday.

Price, who just took office a few months ago ran on a reform platform, including a push to reduce prison sentences.

There are some people who think Price may have gone too far.

Defense attorney Michael Cardoza was in the courtroom when McCannon rejected motions by both the defense and prosecutors to remove him from the triple murder case.

While Cardoza’s own client has benefited from prices plea deals in the past, he still questions her leadership.

“It kicks victims to the curb and it puts those type of criminals back into the community where they came from,” he said. “I think people outta start paying attention because by the time you all wake up, its going to be too late.”

Retired Santa Clara judge Ladoris Cordell said she would’ve rejected price’s plea deal in the triple murder too, and believes the move to remove a judge from all criminal cases in the county could have major consequences for the justice system.

“She has basically reduced the number of judges in alameda county that can preside over criminal cases at time when criminal cases are backlogged in the courts,” Cordell said.

Cordell said legally, Price has the ability to block judge McCannon from all criminal cases by filing an add davit at the beginning of every case stating her office doesn't believe he can be impartial.

Cordell said that's chilling.

“I’m very concerned about that. I think that it is inappropriate use of the authority and power of the DA’s office. I hope that perhaps this can be undone and not be a precedent for every time someone disagrees with the DA,” she said.

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