Judge Frank Domenichini Thursday denied a request to suspend the trial of the California Angels versus the Los Angeles Rams, the City of Anaheim and a developer while it is decided whether Domenichini should stay on the case.
However, Domenichini postponed resumption of the trial in Orange County Superior Court, for two weeks to June 16. The delay is to accommodate baseball Commissioner Peter V. Ueberroth, a witness for the Angels, said Angels attorney William B. Campbell.
Golden West Baseball Co., the Angels' parent company, filed suit on Aug. 8, 1983, against the city and Anaheim Stadium Associates to prevent high-rise office complexes and garages from being built on 81 acres of the Anaheim Stadium parking lot.
Sought to Disqualify Judge
The city promised the Rams the parking lot space for development as part of the package which brought the football team to Orange County in 1978.
Anaheim Stadium Associates is seeking to disqualify Domenichini from the non-jury trial because of political activities involving a clerk who worked in the courtroom where the Angels lawsuit has been tried.
The clerk, Marshall F. Norris, who is running for county clerk, received the endorsement of Angels' owner Gene Autry, with the approval of all parties in the lawsuit.
But when Norris used a picture of himself and Autry on campaign literature, Anaheim Stadium Associates and the city said it gave the appearance that the Angels were trying to curry the judge's favor through the clerk. Norris since has been reassigned to other duties.
Judicial Council to Act
To settle the disqualification matter, the court now plans to contact the state Judicial Council. Originally, the three parties were to agree on a retired judge who would decide whether Domenichini should remain on the case.
But because of technicalities involving jurisdiction, the statewide panel headed by California Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird will select the judge to rule on the issue, Augustini said.
In a 35-page response to the disqualification move, Domenichini last week "expressly denied that any conduct of mine has created a reasonable doubt concerning my ability to be impartial; or that any conduct or actions of the clerk have in any matter influenced or affected me about this case, or will have any effect on my decision."