By Jack Leonard
2:13 PM PST, February 6, 2014
A Los Angeles County judge acquitted Thursday of battery in a trial that revolved around a dispute over a bag of dog waste will return to his old assignment handling felony trials, the county's presiding judge told The Times.
Superior Court Judge Craig Richman will resume his post Monday in the same courtroom in the downtown criminal courts building, Richman's attorney, James Blatt, said.
Richman, who was transferred to the Chatsworth courthouse after the battery charge was filed in October, heard the news about his assignment soon after Thursday morning's not guilty verdict, Blatt said.
"He’s pleased that he's going back to ... a job that he loves," Blatt said. "Both he and his wife are just relieved that this legal nightmare is over."
The county's presiding judge, David S. Wesley, confirmed the assignment.
Richman, 55, was charged with a single misdemeanor count in connection with a July 18 incident near his Chatsworth home. Jurors returned the not-guilty verdict after deliberating for about three hours.
Blatt said his client was not concerned that the California Commission on Judicial Performance might investigate the allegations raised during the trial. The commission is responsible for disciplining state judges.
"If they want to get a copy of the [trial] transcript, I think it's going to be pretty obvious that … there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever for any sanctions against the judge," Blatt said.
The case hinged on the testimony of Connie F. Romero, who testified that Richman pushed her from behind to the ground. Romero, 51, suffered minor injuries including a cut above her eye and scrapes on her wrist and knee.
Richman testified that the incident occurred after he stopped his car to ask Romero to pick up a bag of dog feces he saw her drop on the street. The judge told jurors that she was confrontational, verbally abusive and followed him up his driveway, where she pushed him.
Before becoming a judge, Richman spent about 20 years as a county prosecutor, serving as an assistant head deputy in San Fernando and a supervisor in the unit that prosecutes crimes against peace officers. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to the judiciary about eight years ago.
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