Judge seeks investigation into allegations regarding state actions in CCC case

Visiting Lassen County Superior Court Judge Robert Moody issued a minute order seeking the appointment of a special referee to investigate “whether a party engaged in improper conduct in the legislative process” regarding the city of Susanville’s lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Further the judge wants to investigate if the state has taken other steps to close the California Correctional Center in violation of a preemptory order issued in 2021 by Lassen County Superior Court Judge Mark Nareau.

The judge ordered both parties to respond with opposition to his order seeking to reappoint Harvey L. Leiderman as a special referee “in furtherance of the court’s inherent power to enforce orders” by Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The city did not file a response to Moody’s order, but the state’s attorneys did, according to case file information on the Lassen County’s Superior Court’s website. Lassen News asked to see the response — a public document — Thursday, Aug. 11 at the Lassen County Courthouse, but a clerk said the file was not available for viewing at that time. The clerk advised Lassen News could file an electronic request for the document, and we did. The court responded it was working on the request, but we have not yet received the document at deadline.

Lassen News also sent an email seeking comment to Dana Simas, press secretary for CDCR, but we did not receive a response by deadline.

Here’s the text of Moody’s order.

“NATURE OF THE PROCEEDINGS: Appointment of Special Referee

“The court intends to reappoint Mr. Leiderman as special referee in the above matter It seems that a question of fact has arisen, primarily with respect to the implementation of the two new statutes, and whether a party engaged in improper conduct in the legislative process.

“Secondarily, the court will ask the referee to monitor whether or not there are or have been any other steps taken in furtherance of closing this prison per the court’s peremptory order. This appointment is pursuit to CCP 639(a)(3) & (a)(4).in furtherance of the court’s inherent power to enforce orders.

“Allocation of costs will be sixty percent to California Department of Corrections and forty percent to City of Susanville.

“The parties have until Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at close of business day to submit alternative names and to notify the court of any objections to this appointment.”