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Judge, Still Fighting to Hear a Case, to Be Transferred Monday

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Times Staff Writer

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Melvin B. Grover, who has been locked in a fierce dispute with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, said Thursday that his transfer to a Pasadena Superior Court is scheduled for Monday but that he would fight to hear one more criminal trial in Van Nuys early next week.

Grover, 64, has been accused by prosecutors of mistreating them and prejudicing his rulings in favor of defendants. He has steadfastly denied the allegations but has admitted defeat in the battle and has agreed to handle civil cases in Pasadena.

Grover said Thomas T. Johnson, presiding judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, called him at 9:30 a.m. Thursday to tell him that the transfer, which had been scheduled for Jan. 1, would become effective Monday. The move was accelerated after prosecutors this week tried new measures to keep Grover off criminal cases and the judge twice ordered a prosecutor out of his courtroom.

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Prosecutors have filed affidavits of prejudice against Grover on every new criminal criminal case assigned to his court, seeking to disqualify him from hearing the matters. Grover has few legal avenues to challenge the papers and has accepted most. But he has rejected more than a dozen, saying they were filed improperly.

Grover said he will attempt to retain jurisdiction over a kidnaping trial scheduled to begin in Van Nuys on Monday. A representative of the district attorney’s office said prosecutors would seek a court order barring Grover from hearing that trial.

Grover will be replaced on Jan. 6 by Judge George Xanthos, who has been hearing civil and criminal matters in Pasadena Superior Court.

Grover, who has kept a sense of humor during the dispute, opened his court session Thursday by saying: “Good morning. Welcome to the Thursday edition of ‘As The World Turns.’ ”

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