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Man guilty in judge stalking case

A 24-year-old Laguna Beach man has been sentenced to 16 months in state prison after pleading guilty to stalking an Orange County Superior Court judge, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Daniel Joseph Gidanian pleaded guilty Oct. 14 to one felony count of stalking and one misdemeanor count of annoying and making harassing telephone calls to Judge Derek Johnson. Gidanian was accused of going to the judge’s home on two occasions and confronting him, in addition to other activities, according to the district attorney.

Gidanian had originally appeared before Johnson at the Harbor Justice Center on Sept. 15, 2008, to request that an arrest record related to a restraining order violation be expunged. When the matter was continued into the afternoon, Gidanian allegedly became argumentative and was directed by Johnson to return the following day. The next day, Gidanian requested that Johnson transfer his case to another court, which the judge did.

Between Sept. 27, 2008, and Dec. 24, 2008, Gidanian repeatedly showed up and called Johnson’s courtroom, although his case was no longer assigned there, the district attorney’s office said. He was accused of phoning the courtroom about the judge’s home address, and also calling a court clerk numerous times after obtaining her home phone number.


On Dec. 22, 2008, according to the district attorney’s office, Gidanian called Johnson’s courtroom and also called his wife at work, leaving threatening messages. Then, on Dec. 24, 2008, Gidanian drove to Johnson’s house and parked outside for hours. When the judge arrived, Gidanian fled after being confronted, the district attorney’s office stated.

A search of Gidanian’s home turned up a hand-written note containing the license plate numbers of the judge’s personal vehicles.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Keith Bogardus prosecuted the case in Los Angeles County, because all Orange County Superior Court judges recused themselves to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The prosecution had sought the maximum sentence of three years in state prison.