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LOCAL : Night Stalker Judge Chastizes Chief Defense Attorney for Playing Hooky

<i> From Times wire service</i> s

The lead defense attorney in the Night Stalker multiple murder trial was denounced by the judge today for “reprehensible” behavior because he had failed to show up for Thursday’s afternoon court session.

While saying that the actions of Daniel Hernandez were contemptuous, Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan declined to go through a contempt hearing because he said it would sidetrack the conclusion of the trial of Richard Ramirez.

“For a lawyer in a case like this, without notice to the court, to fail to appear . . . appears to this court to be a deliberate, calculated act of rudeness and contempt for this court and these proceedings,” he told Hernandez.

“What you did yesterday is reprehensible and could be construed by the State Bar as abdication of your duties,” he added.

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Hernandez had apologized to the judge and said his absence was based on a misunderstanding with his co-counsel, Ray Clark, to stand in for him. Hernandez said he was supposed to take the afternoon off. Clark agreed with Hernandez’s claim and said the two men have had trouble communicating during their association on the case.


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