Judge John Trice accepts disciplinary action

February 4, 2016
Judge John Trice

Judge John Trice


San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge John Trice admitted to misconduct and accepted public censure, according to a Feb. 4 California Commission on Judicial Performance decision and order. Of the six types of disciplinary actions available, public censure is only one step from removal from the bench.

This was the second time the commission has disciplined Judge Trice in the past four years. In 2012, Judge Trice received an advisory letter for continuing to preside over a case he had earlier recused himself from.

In late October, Judge Trice’s San Diego based attorney Eugene G. Iredale asked for a public hearing to investigate charges that Judge Trice failed to abide by a court order to provide part of his military retirement benefits to an ex-wife, failed to formally disclose a friendship with an attorney who argued cases in his court and that his conduct with other members of the court has been improper and intemperate.

The Supreme Court then appointed three special masters, including Hon. Anthony J. Mohr, to hold an evidentiary hearing.

In January, Judge Trice filed a motion to have Judge Mohr’s “recused from his case because “of Mohr’s professional relationship with Judge Harman on a Committee of the California Judges Association for several years, and because Harman was a critical witness whose credibility was at issue,” Iredale said in his press release.

Before the judges made a decision on whether or not to remove Judge Mohr from Judge Trice’s case, the parties signed the stipulation for discipline by consent.

In the agreement, the parties agreed to the “imposition of a public censure based upon the stipulated facts and legal conclusions,” the agreement says. “Judge Trice expressly admits the truth of the stipulated facts and agrees with the stipulated legal conclusions.”

Nevertheless, in his press release,  Iredale questions procedures and practices of the commission.

“It is critical for the future regulation of judicial conduct in our own state, that the commission itself engage in serious reflection and study of how to restructure its processes to avoid the appearance, if not the reality, of unfairness,” Iredale’s press release says.

The press release also questions tone and content of emails exchanges between Judge Dodie Harman, a commissioner and another judge of the court, “in which the three engaged in petty derision of Judge Trice, and other judges, including calling the then presiding judge of the court “clueless.”

The Iredale press release:

New Press Release 2.4.16 by CalCoastNews



  1. Robert1 says:

    Judge Trice is a hard working, fair, honorable Judge and took the lessor of two evils.
    The political system as we all know it in this county is jacked up, and it goes right into the judicial machine.

    (3) 13 Total Votes - 8 up - 5 down
  2. Mitch C says:

    Judge Trice took a plea agreement because he felt that he could not get a fair hearing and an unbiased decision by another judge. If a judge cannot get a square deal, how are the rest of us to feel about our judiciary and their decision-making?

    (7) 15 Total Votes - 11 up - 4 down
    • r0y says:

      You are on to something here, Mitch. I mean, most lawyers are not looked upon as decent folk (more so if one has ever had to work with or against one)… nothing “magical” happens when one is elevated to the bench, that’s what I don’t get. We essentially are fishing for judiciaries from the moral cesspool of life, and we expect purity. Or something like that.

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
    • pokey5735 says:

      They don’t want to go against one of their own. What does that tell us?

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  3. Jorge Estrada says:

    In my years I have had the opportunity of casual conversation with many of our local judges. In their defense, they are as just like us with a greater than us job. Having to exercise critical thinking within different flavors of law has got to be like a social accident waiting to happen. There must be a greater than us reason that they can work together for any extended period of time.

    (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
    • TWEEKSBALMER says:

      He got into the frying pan knowing it was hot. Judges are picked for a reason they just judged him wrong.

      (-3) 9 Total Votes - 3 up - 6 down
  4. SLOBIRD says:

    So, San Luis Obispo COunty has a Superior Court Judge that “…This was the second time the commission has disciplined Judge Trice in the past four years.” No wonder no government employee, manager, politician is ever removed for behaviorial misdeeds. God would have to descent from above, spark a fire, and degree a decision and we all that will never happen.

    Wonderful world we live in for sure, the haves and the have nots!

    I wonder if he is a member of the Rotary Club! Any bets?

    (3) 15 Total Votes - 9 up - 6 down
  5. JB Bronson says:

    Here we have a Superior Court Judge not following rules the rest of us would be expected to follow.

    Wallace’s attorney is threatening the Sanitation District for doing their job at fiscal oversight.

    This on the heels of the Directing Attorney with the local office of the California Rural Legal Assistance being allowed to resign for “discrepancies in his billing”.

    You and I would have gone to jail. Must be San Luis Obispo County.

    (9) 19 Total Votes - 14 up - 5 down

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