State Judicial Panel Drops Case Against OC Judge

Times Staff Writers

The state Commission on Judicial Performance announced today it will drop formal proceedings against Harbor Municipal Judge Brian R. Carter when his resignation becomes effective next month, on the condition that he not seek judicial office again or accept any appointment or assignment to the bench.

Carter’s decision to resign in mid-February was disclosed Monday. It follows four years of investigations of Carter and Harbor Municipal Judge Calvin P. Schmidt, first by Newport Beach police and the district attorney’s office, and then by the state judicial commission.

The investigations reportedly have centered on allegations that Carter and Schmidt misused their positions to help friends and to curry favor with prostitutes.

Carter’s decision to resign came three weeks after the Commission on Judicial Performance sent the judge a list of the formal charges against him, commission spokesman Peter Gubbins said today.


Gubbins would not reveal the details of those charges. Evidence would have been presented at the hearing by two officers from the attorney general’s office, Gubbins said.

Although such hearings have always been held secretly in the past, a voter initiative passed in November forced the commission to consider whether the Carter and Schmidt hearings should be held before the public, Gubbins said.

Schmidt Hearing Not Set

Gubbins said no decision had been made about when Schmidt’s hearing will be held, or whether it will be public. Schmidt could not be reached for comment.

Carter told former Harbor Municipal Judge Russell A. Bostrom on Monday that his resignation would be effective Feb. 19.

Gubbins said commission members believed it was pointless to go ahead with the hearing on Carter in light of his decision to resign.

“Because commission hearings are lengthy and expensive to the state of California, the commission has determined that this disposition is in the public interest,” Gubbins said.

Had it found any of the allegations against Carter to be true after a formal hearing, the commission could have done no more than recommend to the state Supreme Court that he be censured, severely censured, suspended or removed from office.

A source close to Carter told The Times that Carter sent a letter to Gov. George Deukmejian on Friday tendering his resignation. The day before, in an interview with a Times reporter, Carter vehemently denied reports that he would resign before his commission hearing.

In fact, he vowed to fight the allegations against him at the hearings. He had hired a noted Orange County trial lawyer and former judge, Byron K. McMillan, to represent him.