Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stanislaus County: Logan taking on county Judiciary in latest filings

by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator

Former City Attorney George Logan is taking on the entire Stanislaus County court system in recent filings regarding a contempt-of-court case filed against him by the Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury.

Logan filed a request Friday, Jan. 20 to have the entire case taken to a different county because he thinks the Stanislaus County court system is biased against him. The matter is scheduled for a court hearing Friday, Jan. 27, at the Stanislaus County Superior Courthouse.

“I think we need to get some fresh eyes on this issue,” Logan said Friday, Jan. 21, regarding the contempt charges against him.

The civil grand jury is seeking a contempt-of-court charge against Logan for discussing and writing in local newspapers in April and May about his testimony in front of the grand jury during an investigation into Patterson City Council dealings. The penalty could carry a $1,000 fine or possible jail time as well as court costs and opposing counsel’s attorney fees.

An affidavit signed by former Grand Jury Foreman Denis France accuses Logan of violating an oath and admonition to secrecy as well as insulting the grand jury.

Logan has cited previous court cases when arguing that he is not legally bound to secrecy by the body because there was no clear and present danger to the proceedings.

In other recent court filings, Logan has asserted that all Stanislaus County judges be barred from the case due to bias, including William Mayhew, the current judge assigned to the case.

Logan also is arguing to have the law firm representing the county in the case — McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard Wayte and Carruth — tossed because the attorney handling the case, Dean Petrulakis, is the brother of George Petrulakis, a high-profile real estate lawyer in Modesto that represents the interests of the Keystone Pacific Business Park in Patterson.

Keystone ended up playing a role in the grand jury investigation, as a portion of the grand jury report focused on the City Council's response to Del Puerto Health Care District's request to move its health center to the Keystone business park.

Logan said the way the contempt case has been handled is “un-American” because the case has so far been sealed and he has been unable to look at the documents in the case file.

In a report released in late June, the civil grand jury recommended that Councilwoman Annette Smith resign or be recalled and that former Mayor Becky Campo pay back money she received as mayor because she allegedly lived outside city limits.

It also stated that the city should file a complaint with the California State Bar to chastise Logan for alleged improprieties. Those include failing to be in the room when the council voted to reimburse developer John Ramos for $27,000 in legal fees he incurred as he sought to block the Del Puerto Health Center from moving to the Keystone Pacific Business Park in western Patterson. The grand jury suggested that Ramos return that money to the city.

Smith, Logan and an official response by the City of Patterson have alleged that grand jurors were biased against the city in their report.

The Stanislaus County Counsel’s office recused itself from the case because of a conflict of interest and because it was unclear whether the charge should be civil or criminal contempt. County Counsel Jack Doering has noted that his office cannot pursue criminal charges, which he thought the situation warranted. The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office has said it believes the matter is civil, not criminal.

• Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187 or

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