Results tagged “Judge Brian Back” from The Court Reporter

The Court Reporter's Notebook

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It's Family Law

During the swearing-in ceremony Friday for Judge Gilbert Romero, Presiding Judge Brian Back quipped and cautioned Romero when  Commissioner Rocky Baio, who presides over family law cases, helped him take of his coat to put on a black robe.

"He is family law. He might go through your pockets," Back told Romero.

The audience laughed.

Lawyers in Andrew Luster Hearing Get Two Thumbs Up

Retired Judge Kathryne Stoltz complimented Andrew Luster's lawyers Jay Leiderman and David Nick along with prosecutor Michelle Contois on the way their did their job during the habeas corpus hearing that lasted more than a week.

The judge said the lawyers did an outstanding job and her respect for them grew each day of the hearing. She said she "profusely" thanked all three attorneys.

Luster's Three Rape Victims Could Take the Stand Again 

Prosecutor Michelle Contois told the Judge Kathryne Stoltz that the victims  who Luster drugged and raped could take the stand again and testify against him if she rules that Luster will have a sentencing hearing.

Contois said the state constitution guarantees that victims of crime must be afford the opportunity to attend court during sentencing, and make victim impact statements against defendants.

Luther will also be allowed to admit mitigating evidence if he is granted a sentencing hearing by  Judge Kathryne Stoltz.

Defense lawyers said that if Luster gets a 20-year sentence, he will be immediately eligible for parole since he only has to serve 50 percent of the sentence on these kinds of nonviolent, sex crimes.

Luster has been behind bars since 2003.


Court Reporter's Notebook

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Jail Inmate Gets Chewed Out by Judge

During a recess in Andrew Luster's hearing, I briefly stepped into Judge Brian Back's court and a short time later, the judge became upset at a tattooed jail inmate who apparently flung a pencil at a probation officer.

This guy went into a Salvation Army program, decided he had enough and walked away and by doing so he violated the terms of his probation.

The judge told the inmate that he could have been charged with assault by throwing the pencil at the female officer.

"Deal with her respectfully," the judge said raising his voice. "We worked with you. You've got to admit that. You shined us on."

Adding, "I don't know what you have to do to get out of custody but do it."

The judge who is pretty laid back sentenced this guy to 150 days in jail.

Jury Selection in Murder Trial of a Man Accused of Killing His Sister

Jury selection is underway in the murder trial of David Morales, of Fillmore, who is accused of the death of his younger sister Maricruz Morales, a 20-year-old Fillmore High School graduate.

She was beaten to death on Sept. 15, 2010 during a domestic dispute at the family's Sespe Avenue apartment in Fillmore, according to authorities.

Morales is charged with assault with force causing great bodily injury stemming from the beating of his mother who tried to help her daughter.

Jury selection continues Friday in Courtroom 25, Judge Patricia Murphy presiding.

Morales' lawyer is Claudia Bautista with the Public Defender's Office; the case is being prosecuted by Rebecca Day.




MABA Luncheon Speakers Will Discuss Courts' Finances and Future Plans

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The "State of the Court" luncheon will be held Feb. 1 and is sponsored by the Ventura County Mexican American Bar Association.

Ventura County Superior Court Presiding Judge Brian Back will talk about the evolving plans for the direction of the court.

Michael Planet, the executive officer of the Superior Court, will give a report on the courts' financial situation.

The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at the Tower Club, 300 E. Esplanade Drive, Floor 22, in Oxnard.

For more information: Contact: Tawnee N. Pena at 764-6370 or email her at


New Presiding and Assistant Presiding Judges Elected

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Ventura County Superior Court judges unanimously elected Brian J. Back as presiding judge and Donald D. Coleman as assistant presiding judge for 2013 and 2014, caourt officials stated.

The new term begins Jan. 1.

Judge Back was appointed to the Ventura Municipal Court by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1997 and elevated to the Superior Court in 1998.

He has been  a judge for 14 years and has served as the Superior Court assistant presiding judge since January 2011, according to court administrators.

Judge Back, who is currently assigned to the criminal division, has previously been assigned to juvenile delinquency, family law, guardianship, domestic violence, and adult mental health courts, according to court officials.

In 2003, he was named Judge of the Year by the Ventura County Trial Lawyers Association, court officials stated.

Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Back was an attorney with Arnold, Back, Matthews, Wojkowski  and Zirbel from 1990 to 1997.

Judge Back has a bachelor's degree from Claremont Men's College and is a graduate of the University of Santa Clara Law School. He also holds a master's degree in government from Claremont Graduate School.

Judge Coleman was elected to the Superior Court in March 1996.

Before being elected to the bench, Coleman was a member of the Ventura County District Attorney's Office for 18 years where he achieved the position of chief deputy district attorney, according to court administrators.

Judge Coleman earned a bachelor's degree at UCLA and his law degree from Southwestern Law School. 

He is a Vietnam veteran and served there with the U.S. Army.


The Court Reporter
Raul Hernandez has spent years writing stories about the drama that unfolds in the courtroom. Here he answers common questions, share some insights on the judicial system and passes along some of the little things that make the Ventura County courts an interesting place to be. You can contact him at