An Orange County Superior Court judge who has refused to dismiss a high-profile criminal case against a Newport Beach surgeon and his girlfriend accused of drugging and raping several women can continue to preside over the case, another judge has ruled.
The attempt by attorneys for Dr. Grant Robicheaux and Cerissa Riley to have Judge Gregory Jones removed from the case over allegations of “the appearance of bias” was denied by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Samantha Jessner in a recent written opinion.
Prosecutors initially accused the couple of meeting women at Newport Beach restaurants and bars and then drugging them and luring them back to Robicheaux’s apartment to sexually assault them. Earlier this year, the Orange County’s District Attorney’s Office reversed course, citing a lack of evidence and a belief that the couple were swingers whose sexual encounters and drug use was consensual.
But Judge Jones refused to dismiss the charges, particularly before the alleged victims have an opportunity to testify. He also has questioned the ability of the DA’s office to remain involved in the case. If local prosecutors were removed, the California Attorney General’s Office could take it.
The failed defense request to disqualify Judge Jones centered on a meeting between the judge and Matt Murphy, a former Orange County homicide prosecutor now representing some of the alleged victims. Both Murphy and Jones denied that the meeting was improper.
Source: Orange County Register