Volunteer Judge Who Threatened to Deport Woman Is Dropped
A substitute judge who refused to hear a woman’s request for a restraining order against her husband because she was an illegal immigrant has been dropped from the roster of part-time judges used by the Los Angeles County Superior Court, an official said Friday.
Judge Pro Tem Bruce R. Fink was removed this week from the list of 1,200 lawyers used as voluntary substitute judges by the county, said Allan Parachini, spokesman for the court. The decision was made by a committee that oversees the program, he said.
At the same time, Aurora Gonzalez, the woman at the center of the controversy, resubmitted her request for a temporary restraining order and was granted one, Parachini said.
Gonzalez, who lives in a domestic violence shelter, could not be reached for comment.
Fink, an Orange family law attorney of 34 years, said he was unfazed by the court’s decision.
“A lot of people run from controversy,” he said. “It doesn’t bother me. Remember, I was doing this as a volunteer.”
The incident stems from a July 14 hearing on Gonzalez’s request for a restraining order against Francisco Salgado, 51, her husband of six years. Gonzalez, a mother of two young boys, had accused Salgado of emotional and verbal abuse and of threatening to call immigration officials.
During the court proceeding in Pomona, Fink asked Gonzalez if she was an illegal immigrant, and she said yes.
He told her that he could have her arrested and deported. He then warned her that he was going to count to 20 and if she were still in his courtroom “she gets arrested and goes to Mexico.”
At that point Gonzalez left, and the judge dismissed the case.
Fink later said that he was trying to help Gonzalez avoid problems with immigration officials, since she had just admitted to breaking a federal law.
But experts said that Gonzalez had no authority as a state judge to order an arrest for violation of a federal immigration law.