LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Times has reported that a panel of federal judges on the East Coast was selected to oversee a misconduct probe into California Judge Alex Kozinski. Kozinski himself requested the investigation.
Kozinksi was presiding over the Ira Isaacs obscenity case that began last week. Stolen Cars Films and LA Media owner Ira Isaacs was charged with two counts of using a common carrier and interactive computer service for interstate commerce in obscene films. During the course of the trial, the Times broke the story that Kozinski had pornographic images posted on his personal website.
Last week, after Kozinski ordered a 48-hour stay in the obscenity case, the judge sent Isaacs’ defense attorney Roger Jon Diamond notice that he had recused himself from the case and for reasons of public interest he had found it necessary to declare a mistrial, Diamond told XBIZ. Legal wording of the notice was somewhat unclear, Diamond added but he’d construed it as a mistrial.
“We never went back to court and the jury was dismissed,” Diamond told XBIZ. “The jury can’t be called back. Jeopardy has attached to the case.”
A status conference has been called for Monday, June 30. Diamond said he would attempt to have that date moved up or down due to a family commitment. A status conference is a court-ordered meeting with a judge or an authorized counsel where they decide the date of the trial. Diamond said if the government attempted to retry the case he would argue the double jeopardy clause.
In regards to the investigation, Diamond said he believed the federal government had exploited the judge.
“If he can be investigated as publicly as this sets a dangerous precedent about questioning any judge’s personal interests.” Diamond told XBIZ.