CPIL’s Executive Director Robert Fellmeth Quoted in Recent Los Angeles Daily Journal articles on Deputy Attorney General Barred from Courtro

Robert C. Fellmeth

SAN DIEGO (June 27, 2018) – University of San Diego (USD) School of Law Center for Public Interest Law’s (CPIL) Executive Director Robert C. Fellmeth was quoted in a series of articles published in the Los Angeles Daily Journal this week.

The articles focus on a court case pending in Santa Barbara Superior Court where Deputy Attorney General Ross Hirsch was barred from the courtroom after the he spoke with a juror for several minutes during the trial. The article states the judge said Hirch’s action was “totally inappropriate and mind boggling.”  According to the article Hirch was monitoring the trial not participating in it, stating that he spoke to the juror about his injured foot, the palm trees around the courthouse, and mentioned he was an environmental attorney, when the juror approached him outside the courthouse at lunch.

According to the article the defense brought the conversation to the judge’s attention.  The judge allowed the defense to question Hirsch on his conversation and whether he knew he was not supposed to have contact with jurors. 

Robert Fellmeth, executive director at CPIL said, “in terms of sanctions, if he’s talking about the case, his license is in some jeopardy.  If he’s not talking about the case, if I’m on the State Bar, I don’t know if I do anything more than issue a reproval…something saying ‘You cannot do that.’”  Because he did not speak about the case Fellmeth didn’t believe Hirsh’s license would or should be revoked, but could face three possible consequences. “One, he could be sanctioned by the court with a fine,” Fellmeth said. “Two, they could file something in his record at the AG’s office. Three, he might receive a warning from the bar.” Fellmeth thinks dismissal over this incident is unlikely, but the juror could be replaced with an alternate.

According to the articles, on June 26th, the judge questioned the juror about the conversation.  According to the article Hirsch failed to disclose the full nature of the conversation. Defense counsel in the case argued the juror should be dismissed because she may no longer be impartial.  The judge dismissed the juror from the case.

About Center for Public Interest Law

Founded in 1980, the University of San Diego School of Law’s Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) serves as an academic center of research and advocacy in regulatory and public interest law. CPIL focuses its efforts on the study of an extremely powerful, yet often overlooked, level of government: state regulatory agencies. Under the supervision of experienced public interest attorneys and advocates, CPIL law student interns study California agencies that regulate business, professions, and trades.

CPIL publishes the California Regulatory Law Reporter, a unique legal journal that covers the activities and decisions of over 12 major California regulatory agencies.

In addition to its academic program, CPIL has an advocacy component. Center faculty, professional staff, and interns represent the interests of the unorganized and underrepresented in California’s legislature, courts, and regulatory agencies. CPIL attempts to make the regulatory functions of California government more efficient and visible by serving as a public monitor of state regulatory activity. The Center has been particularly active in reforming the state’s professional discipline systems for attorneys and physicians, and in advocating public interest reforms to the state’s open meetings and public records statutes.

About the University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego (USD) School of Law is recognized for the excellence of its faculty, depth of its curriculum, and strength of its clinical programs. Each year, USD educates approximately 800 Juris Doctor and graduate law students from throughout the United States and around the world. The law school is best known for its offerings in the areas of business and corporate law, constitutional law, intellectual property, international and comparative law, public interest and taxation.

USD School of Law is one of the 84 law schools elected to the Order of the Coif, a national honor society for law school graduates. The law school’s faculty is a strong group of outstanding scholars and teachers with national and international reputations and currently ranks 35th nationally and 6th on the West Coast among U.S. law faculties in scholarly impact and 24th nationally and 6th on the West Coast in all-time faculty downloads on the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN). The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1954, the law school is part of the University of San Diego, a private, nonprofit, independent, Roman Catholic university chartered in 1949.

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Katie Gonzalez
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(619) 260-4806

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