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State Attorney Seeks Removal of Judge in Rejected Parole Case

Courts: He calls the jurist prejudiced and incapable of impartiality regarding the release of Robert Rosenkrantz, 33, who killed a Calabasas teenager in 1985.

November 21, 2000|CAITLIN LIU | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The state attorney general's office sought Monday to remove a Los Angeles Superior Court judge from hearing a case seeking parole for convicted murderer Robert Rosenkrantz, saying Judge Kathryne Stoltz is "prejudiced" and cannot be impartial.

"Judge Stoltz has heard extensive arguments on this case, and has issued strongly worded orders," said Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for the attorney general's office.

But Rosenkrantz's attorney, Rowan Klein, said he was unfazed by the latest legal wrangling over whether the 33-year-old Calabasas man should be paroled.

"Whether Judge Stoltz hears it, the case will go forward," Klein said.

Klein filed an amended lawsuit last week, alleging that Gov. Gray Davis acted unconstitutionally in denying him parole.

It was turned away by Stoltz, who cited an appellate court ruling that barred her from hearing any more motions concerning this case.

But on Friday, the same appellate court ruled that the Superior Court had jurisdiction.

Earlier, Stoltz had made two rulings on the case that were favorable to Rosenkrantz.

In 1999, she ordered the parole board to find him suitable for release, and later ordered his immediate release.

Parole advocates have sought to make Rosenkrantz, 33, of Calabasas a test of the governor's stance against paroling murderers. Since taking office, Davis has allowed the parole of only one convicted killer in more than 30 cases he has reviewed.

In 1985, Rosenkrantz fatally shot 17-year-old Steven Redman of Calabasas.

The week before the killing, Redman exposed Rosenkrantz as a homosexual to Rosenkrantz's parents. Despondent and enraged, Rosenkrantz bought an Uzi and killed Redman after a confrontation.

He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 17 years to life in prison.

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In the 15 years Rosenkrantz has been a prisoner, he has been a model inmate, earning a bachelor's degree and tutoring other prisoners, his lawyers said.

But Davis twice denied his parole, saying he believes Rosenkrantz has not served sufficient time for the crime.

Last week, Rosenkrantz's parents made a rare public appearance to denounce the governor and plead for the release of their son, whom they said had expressed remorse and is rehabilitated and ready to return to society.

Redman's family could not be reached for comment.

Klein said the Los Angeles County district attorney's office attempted to remove the judge a few months ago but did not succeed.

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