There is apparently no love lost between the lawyers of a
17-year-old boy accused of murder and prosecutor Bill Haney who told a judge on
Friday shortly before a preliminary hearing ended that he wanted contempt charged
be brought against defense attorneys Scott
Wippert and Robyn Bramson.
Mr. Haney and Mr. Wippert and Ms. Bramson have sometimes
engaged in emotionally charged legal discourse during court proceedings filled with accusations, counter-accusations, bickering and passionate
Friday, Mr. Haney told
Judge James Cloninger that Mr. Wippert
and Ms. Bramson, who represent murder defendant Alex Medina, accused him
of perjury when, he said, this is false and there is absolutely no basis for
The allegation of perjury was made in a legal motion filed
by the defense attorneys where they claim Mr. Haney perjured himself without no details or facts to back up this allegation, according to Mr. Haney.
Mr. Haney threatened
to take this matter to the California State Bar Association and Friday, he
asked Judge Cloninger to hold Mr. Wippert in contempt of court.
"It is so inappropriate, and I ask that you do so now for
the record," Haney told Judge Cloninger.
Mr. Haney said the allegation was very specific against
him, noting that he is an officer of the court. Adding that Mr. Wippert needs
to "spit out" what evidence he has to accuse him of perjury.
The judge asked Mr. Wippert what evidence he had that Mr.
Haney perjured himself. When it was apparently that Mr. Wippert wasn't going to
give specific details to back up his perjury claim, the judge decided not to take
up the matter.
The judge said his first and foremost responsibility was
to see that Alex Medina case gets to trial, and he wasn't going to turn the legal
proceedings into a discovery forum between Mr. Haney and the defense lawyers.
"That's my function here to get the Medina case to trial,"
the judge told the attorneys.
The judge said he could revisit the perjury
matter, if he is required to do so by law, and if it is determined what specifically,
Mr. Wippert is alleging.
In an interview after Friday's hearing , Haney who
usually gets high marks from defense attorneys for being straightforward and
easy to work with was visibly frustrated and upset about Mr. Wippert's perjury
Mr. Haney said he didn't know whether he will return to the
court to ask for a contempt of court hearing against Mr. Wippert or g to the State Bar and file a grievance.
"It's just an effort to remove me from this case," Mr.
Haney said, about Mr. Wippert's perjury accusation.
On Thursday, the judge denied a motion by Medina's
lawyers to recuse the District Attorney's Office from prosecuting the case.
Mr. Wippert and Ms. Bramson represented another youthful offender
in a high-profile case, Brandon McInerney.
Mr. McInerney who is now 18 years old pleaded guilty to
second-degree murder, a plea agreement stated that he would serve time only for
manslaughter and firearms charges.
In December, Mr. McInerney was sentenced to 21 years for
the 2008 homicide of 15-year-old classmate Larry King.
Some say Mr. Wippert and Ms. Bramson are very hardworking
lawyers who employ pit bull-style legal tactics when they represent their
clients. Other attorneys, including prosecutors,
however, say they engage in legal maneuvers attorneys have described in court as "gamesmanship"
solely designed to delay and obstruct justice by filing piles of meritless and