SANTA ANA — A parade of witnesses testified Monday against Orange County Superior Court Judge Susanne Shaw in the opening day of her misconduct probe, many of them charging that she verbally abused defendants and others during open court proceedings.
The California Commission on Judicial Performance earlier this year filed a 12-count complaint accusing Shaw of violating several judicial ethics standards, such as making comments in court that were "intimidating, demeaning, undignified and discourteous" and that showed bias toward particular individuals. The complaints date from 1993 to 1997.
Shaw, 53, has denied all the allegations. A handful of supporters showed up Monday in Superior Court, and many of them are expected to testify in her defense as early as today.
"She's a very compassionate judge, she tries to make a difference in people's lives," attorney Fred C. Ascari, a former clerk of Shaw's, said outside the courtroom.
Shaw's attorney, Thomas M. Goethals, is expected to introduce defense witnesses, and the hearing will be completed this week, attorneys on both sides said.
After that, the panel of appellate court justices will file a report to the commission that will decide Shaw's fate. If found she is guilty on the counts, the penalty could range from a simple reprimand to removal from the post.