Presiding Judge and Jurist in Case of Korean Grocer Receive Recall Papers


Recall papers have been served on Joyce A. Karlin, the judge who sentenced a Korean-born grocer to five years probation for killing a black girl, and on the presiding judge of the court, who refused demands that Karlin be removed from the criminal bench.

Karlin's decision not to send Soon Ja Du to prison for shooting 15-year-old Latasha Harlins to death after an argument over a bottle of orange juice sparked anger in the black community and prompted a series of weekly protests at the Compton courthouse, where Karlin is assigned.

Ricardo Torres, presiding judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court, backed Karlin when Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner demanded that she be blocked from trying any criminal cases. Reiner later backed down, saying that he would deal with Karlin on a case-by-case basis.

Community activist Lauroi Gillory said recall papers were served Monday night at the home Karlin shares with her husband, William F. Fahey, in Manhattan Beach.

"Her husband took the papers, and has basically accepted the service," Gillory said later.

Torres' office in downtown Los Angeles confirmed that the papers had been served there at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday by Compton City Councilwoman Patricia Moore, who has been a major force in the recall effort.

Moore said the acceptance of the papers means that supporters of the recall drive can begin circulating recall petitions for a countywide vote in the June election.

According to Moore, about 300,000 signatures will be required for each name to be placed on the ballot.

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