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FULLERTON : Judge Drops Charge Against Detective

Contempt charges were dismissed against a Fullerton police detective Tuesday after he apologized for comments he had made while testifying against four men accused of gunning down his former partner.

In a hearing in Norwalk Superior Court, Judge J. Kimball Walker agreed to drop the contempt charge after Fullerton Detective Dan Hughes, former partner of slain Fullerton narcotics officer Tommy De La Rosa, read aloud a short apology.

“At no time during my testimony did I ever intend to show disrespect to the court,” Hughes said.

Hughes was held in contempt Sept. 23 after he took the witness stand and asked the judge to be “fair” and to act “a little bit better” during the trial. The judge also said Hughes slammed a door when leaving the courtroom, but Hughes’ attorney, Daniel K. Spradlin, said someone else slammed the door while following Hughes outside.

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“I gratefully accept the apology,” Walker said shortly before dismissing the citation. Walker said he understood that Hughes was under stress and concerned about the trial at the time of the incident.

Prosecutors tried unsuccessfully to have Walker removed from the case, which was tried in Norwalk. Police openly worried that Walker was showing bias toward the defendants.

De La Rosa was killed on June 21, 1990, in Downey, during an undercover drug sting that went awry. Three Los Angeles men, Raul Meza, Jose Yuriar and Jesus Araclio, were convicted for their roles in the officer’s slaying.

The men are expected to be sentenced Jan. 4 along with a fourth man, Fredrico Marriott, also of Los Angeles County. Marriott was originally charged in De La Rosa’s death, but Walker dismissed those charges because of insufficient evidence. Marriott was convicted on drug charges.

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