In Los Angeles' legal community, James A. Bascue was a towering and admired figure.
As a top prosecutor, he became a national expert on gang prosecutions. Appointed to the bench, he rose to presiding judge of Los Angeles Superior Court.
But shortly after 2 a.m. Thursday, Bascue found himself on the other side of the law.
Los Angeles police said they arrived at Bascue's West L.A. townhouse to find him inside holding two guns. Authorities said he fired on officers, prompting a standoff with a SWAT team that ended with the arrest of the 75-year-old retired jurist.
While Bascue sat in jail, friends and longtime colleagues struggled to understand the bizarre twist after...