Downey : 5 Judges Decline to Hear Case Involving Gadfly

Five Downey Municipal Court judges have disqualified themselves from presiding over the misdemeanor trial of a gadfly because of potential conflicts of interest, an official said.

Presiding Judge Donald L. Wilson on Tuesday directed Court Administrator Elaine E. Osborne to contact the California Judicial Council to arrange for a judge to hear the case of Stanley Wantuch, who is charged with disrupting two council meetings and obstructing a police officer.

Wilson and Downey Municipal Court Judges Richard C. Cumming, Reynaldo Chaparro, F. Lawrence Plotkin and Robert G. Drees disqualified themselves because of their past contact and relationships with Downey City Council members, Osborne said.

Wantuch, who said he lives in residences in Bell Gardens and Bellflower, was arrested at a council meeting in November. He was speaking against a proposed ordinance when Mayor Robert G. Cormack asked him to take his seat. Wantuch, 22, refused and was removed from the chambers and arrested by Downey police officers.


The next hearing in the case is scheduled May 15.