Judge Removes Self From Herb Wesson’s City Council Replacement Case

LOS ANGELES—A judge who recently again blocked Herb Wesson from acting as a temporary replacement for suspended Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas has removed herself from further proceedings in the case.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel had issued a temporary restraining order on July 19 preventing Wesson from performing any council functions. The decision effectively blocks him from representing the district, although it did not formally remove him from his temporary appointment.

The case was reassigned to Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff, who will hear the organization’s request for a preliminary injunction on Aug. 17.

Strobel’s clerk issued a minute order Aug. 3 in which the judge explained her decision to remove herself from the case brought by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California:

“The court has received city’s opposition to the order to show cause re: preliminary injunction [and] for the first time in this litigation, the city argues that the legislative history of proposed changes to the city charter in 1999 is relevant to the issues in the preliminary injunction. Because the judge worked as a staff member for the elected Charter Reform Commission, one of the two commissions recommending those changes in 1999, the court recuses itself in the interests of justice.”

Strobel’s July 19 ruling marked the second time she had issued a temporary restraining order against Wesson’s service on the council.

On Feb. 24, Strobel sided with the organization’s challenge to Wesson’s appointment, issuing an order preventing him from serving.

She later vacated the order and declined to issue a preliminary injunction, saying that procedurally, the organization needed to obtain permission from the state Attorney General’s Office to proceed with its legal challenge.

As a result, Wesson began serving on the council in mid-March. In June, however, the Attorney General’s Office

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