POMONA — A community activist was sentenced to 10 days in jail for contempt of court last week after he "impugned the integrity of the court" during his pretrial hearing last week on charges of disrupting public meetings.
John Marshall Lawrence, 66, was twice found in contempt last Friday by Pomona Municipal Court Judge Thomas A. Peterson. Lawrence, acting as his own counsel, had accused the judge of perjury and conspiracy, said Deputy District Atty. Diane Gesner.
Peterson later disqualified himself at the request of Lawrence, who said the judge exhibited prejudice against him, Gesner said. The case was transferred to the courtroom of presiding Judge Robert Duke, whom Lawrence also asked to be disqualified because of prejudice. Lawrence will argue for Duke's disqualification at his next appearance, Oct. 31, she said.
Lawrence is charged with four counts of disrupting a public meeting, and co-defendant Al Ramirez faces two counts of the same offense, Gesner said. The charges stem from a series of disruptions at Pomona City Council meetings over the past two months.