05 December 2013

Judge Misconduct: Criminal Case Against Hon. Peter J. McBrien - Informal Probation Order

Judge Peter McBrien Criminal Conviction for Destruction of Public Owned Trees at Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Ancil Hoffman Park - Leaked Probation Order

Tuesday Document Dump
Leondra R Kruger, Mariano Florentino Cuellar, Goodwin H Liu, Carol A Corrigan, Ming W Chin, Kathryn M Werdegar, Tani G Cantil Sakauye, Sacramento Superior Court, Judge Peter McBrien, Judge Robert Hight, Judge James Mize, Commission on Judicial Performance, CJP, Victoria Henley,

Sacramento Family Court News has obtained the Order of Informal Probation and Minute Order from the criminal prosecution of Sacramento Family Court Judge Peter McBrien. McBrien was charged with felony vandalism for the destruction of oak trees at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Ancil Hoffman Park on October 28, 2000. The judge had the trees cut to improve the view from his home on a bluff above the park, according to Sacramento County District Attorney's Office investigator Craig Tourte. Click here to read the Sacramento News and Review cover story about the case. 

Less than 48 hours after the case was filed, McBrien worked out a plea bargain, pleading no contest to a misdemeanor violation of Penal Code § 384a, which prohibits the destruction or removal of public or private trees and other plants. As the probation order reflects, the judge paid a fine of $500 and restitution of $20,000, the estimated value of the public owned trees. McBrien made the payments the same day, and the probation was terminated. 

Many observers considered the plea agreement overly lenient and reflecting a form of professional courtesy because of McBrien's status as a judge and previous employment in law enforcement. The plea deal also reportedly outraged the Ancil Hoffman Park employees who initially discovered and investigated the crime. Before becoming a judge, McBrien worked for the California Department of Justice from 1972 to 1982, and was a member of the California District Attorneys Association from 1979 to 1987. For our complete coverage of Judge Peter McBrien click here

For additional articles about the people and issues in this post, click the corresponding labels below the document.