Visiting Judge Alan Hedegard, seen here overseeing the Richard Scagliotti case in March, recused himself after it surfaced he presided over the case petitioner's wedding.


The visiting judge who recused himself from the civil trial against a former supervisor and the county board told the Free Lance he concluded a “reasonable person” might doubt his partiality after it recently surfaced he officiated the case petitioner’s wedding.

Retired Monterey County Judge Alan Hedegard also acknowledged in an interview at the San Benito County Courthouse this week that in 2005, he swore in the same petitioner’s wife to the state bar.

“Regarding the motion for recusal, I came to the conclusion that a reasonable person might have a doubt that the judge would be impartial in this case,” he said.

The legal battle started with a 2003 lawsuit against former Supervisor Richard Scagliotti and the San Benito County Board filed by an anonymous group, whom Michael Pekin also represented. While several versions of the suit have been filed under different names, most recently Patrick Pekin, the accusers have alleged the longtime supervisor abused his position to benefit his business interests as a developer. Scagliotti has denied all the charges.

Scagliotti’s San Jose-based attorney Michael Serverian first requested the recusal Oct. 2 while filing a notice of disclosure, and then on Oct. 20 he filed a motion to recuse Hedegard, the attorney said.

Hedegard confirmed to the Free Lance that he received $200 to perform the 2007 wedding ceremony.

“We not only need fairness,” said the visiting judge, “we need the appearance of fairness as well.”

Hedegard went on to say he always has viewed performing a wedding as a “ministerial function,” indicating he had performed “more than 600 weddings.” Hedegard said he believes he could have decided fairly in the case.

“I asked myself whether members of the public would question whether my accepting a $200 gratuity might affect my decision. And, unfortunately, I believe some people might.”

Hedegard also acknowledged that in December 2005, he swore in Patrick Pekin’s wife, then named Amanda Hernandez, as a member of the State Bar of California. Hedegard said he “presented to Ms. Hernandez a statute of ‘Lady Justice’ holding up a set of scales” at the swearing in ceremony.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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