The San Francisco DA’s office challenged Judge Anne-Christine Massullo for cause today in her handling of crime-lab related discovery.
Paul Henderson, Kamala Harris’s administrative chief, filed a 170.1 challenge, citing “facts that have arisen which call into question whether Judge Massullo can be impartial.”
The motion focuses on Massullo’s husband, John Hemann, a Morgan, Lewis & Bockius partner. Hemann is the court-appointed attorney for a defendant whose federal case was touched (free reg. req.) by San Francisco’s drug lab scandal.
On May 27, Massullo disclosed in a hearing that her husband had received a phone call from Paul DeMeester, attorney for former criminalist Deborah Madden (who’s been involved to assert a privacy right to her personnel files), about Hemann's case.
The motion also cites a June 17 San Francisco Bar Association CLE panel called “Brady Disclosures: What’s Gone Wrong and How to Make it Right.” Hemann was one of the panelists, though the motion acknowledges he didn’t make any comments directly about crime lab or the pending litigation.
Since Massullo issued an order that was highly critical of the DA’s office, and after she disclosed the matter of DeMeester calling her husband, Henderson has been asking her questions about it -- seemingly to get the judge to recuse herself. That went nowhere, with Massullo telling Henderson to follow the proper channels and file a motion instead.