The Chino, California city council is demanding the removal of San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Cara Hutson, who allowed a felon to go free who later killed a police officer during a chase.
Wanted felon William Shae McKay was spotted by Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and a high speed chase ensued. McKay was eventually stopped and was killed in a shootout, but he killed motorcycle deputy Isaiah Cordero in the process.
When the city council found out that Hutson drastically lowered McKay's bail and then allowed him to skip a scheduled court date on kidnapping and robbery charges even though he had a long criminal record, they reacted by demanding Hutson's removal.
“Cara Hutson, the San Bernardino County Superior Court judge presiding over this case demonstrated a lack o discernment and negligence in granting this violent individual bail,” said Chino Mayor Eunice M. Ulloa.
McKay was a clear danger to the public and to law enforcement, Ulloa continued.
"This city council believes this judge should resign from her position," she concluded.
The council members have asked the state senate to remove Hutson, but the senate can't directly do so.
Turns out it's a complicated process involving the senate petitioning the Commission on Judicial Performance to conduct a review of the judge. If the commission does recommend her removal, it goes before the state supreme court.
Absent of the judge being convicted of a felony, that recommendation is unlikely to be followed. It seems that a judge can be really, really bad at their job and still not be removed.
So far, Hutson has refused to resign despite intense pressure to do so from the council, law enforcement, and Cordero's mother, Rebecca.
Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said, "We must demand more of our lawmakers and our judges."
The National Police Association has started a petition to remove Hutson, and has collected 10,000 signatures so far.
"The court does not have a position on the council's action taken last Tuesday," the San Bernadino Superior Court said in a statement. "However, neither the presiding judge nor any other judge has authority to review, alter or modify rulings or decisions of another judicial officer."
Ostensibly, Hutson knows that she has nothing to fear from her detractors because of California's terrible legal process. Hopefully, she has learned her lesson and will stop giving low or no bail to violent and repeat criminals like McKay.