Passive-aggression is apparently not an effective tactic to use on San Francisco Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo.
The district attorney’s office appears to be maneuvering to get the judge to recuse herself from joined crime-lab-related cases -- she’s been reviewing thousands of pages of documents and hearing discovery motions in the cases for a couple of months now. In May she issued an order (sub. req.) that was highly critical of the DA’s office.
Massullo’s husband, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partner John Hemann, is the court-appointed attorney for a defendant whose federal case was touched by San Francisco’s drug lab scandal. The Recorder’s Dan Levine wrote about federal cases (free reg. req.) the drug lab scandal has affected, including Hemann’s.
Two weeks ago, Massullo disclosed that her husband had gotten a phone call from Paul DeMeester, attorney for former criminalist Deborah Madden (who’s been involved in the discovery hearings to assert a privacy right to her personnel files), about his case. Apparently armed with that and the Recorder article, DA Kamala Harris’ chief of administration, Paul Henderson, has tried to raise his office’s concerns -- but without making any motions.
This afternoon at a hearing, Henderson for the second time tried to ask Massullo about it. She was having none of it.
“The district attorney is trying to cross examine the court,” she said.
There’s a procedure to follow if the DA’s office thinks she shouldn’t be presiding over these matters, she said. File a declaration, and “I will file the appropriate response. That will be the way the court will address these issues,” she said.