California judge secretly recording insulting defendants

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) — A California judge who sentenced two men to life for murder was secretly recorded during trial calling them names and saying he’d refuse a defense motion in order to help the prosecution.

The Palm Springs Desert Sun says it obtained a copy Tuesday of comments recorded on a defendant’s laptop during a break in the 2012 trial of Kaushal Niroula and Daniel Garcia.

They and two other men are appealing murder convictions involving Palm Springs resident Clifford Lambert, who vanished in 2008.

On the recordings, Downing insults Niroula and Garcia and says he won’t allow them separate trials. He calls a single trial a “prosecutor’s dream” because the men might implicate each other.

The retired judge wouldn’t comment to the newspaper last week but has said the trial was fair.

Categories: California News