|For Immediate Release
Case # 08CF3682
October 14, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
MAN CONVICTED OF STALKING SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE WITH REPEATED PHONE CALLS AND SHOWING UP AT JUDGE’S HOME ON CHRISTMAS EVE
NORWALK – A 23-year-old man was convicted today of stalking an Orange County Superior Court Judge, including making several harassing phone calls and showing up at the judge’s home on Christmas Eve. Daniel Joseph Gidanian, Laguna Beach, pleaded guilty to the court to one felony count of stalking and one misdemeanor count of annoying and harassing telephone calls. He faces a sentence ranging from probation up to three years in state prison at his sentencing on Nov. 9, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. in Department D of the Norwalk Courthouse, Los Angeles County, Superior Court of California. This case was prosecuted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles County, as all Orange County Superior Court Judges recused themselves from this case to prevent the appearance of a conflict of interest.
On Sept. 15, 2008, Gidanian appeared before the Honorable Derek Johnson in Department H-13 of the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach to request that an arrest record related to a restraining order violation be expunged. When the matter was continued into the afternoon, the defendant became argumentative with the judge and was directed to return the following day. The defendant returned as instructed and asked his case be transferred to another court. Judge Johnson transferred the case to another court at the request of the defendant.
Between Sept. 27, 2008, and Dec. 24, 2008, Gidanian repeatedly showed up and called Judge Johnson’s courtroom, despite no longer having a case assigned there. On one occasion, the defendant called the courtroom inquiring about the judge’s home address and attempting to have court staff confirm an address he read to them. Gidanian is also accused of researching and obtaining the personal home telephone number of court clerk and calling her numerous times.
As a result of Gidanian’s behavior, investigators from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department contacted the defendant, interviewed him about his intention for repeatedly contacting the judge and clerk, and instructed him to leave the victims alone.
On Dec. 22, 2008, Gidanian called Judge Johnson’s courtroom and his wife at her work, leaving messages stating that there would be “serious consequences” and “hell to pay” if Judge Johnson did not leave him alone. On Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2008, Gidanian drove to Judge Johnson’s house and parked outside for several hours waiting for the judge to return home. When the judge arrived at his house, he confronted Gidanian, who fled the scene.
A subsequent search of the defendant’s home revealed that he was in possession of a hand-written note detailing the time Judge Johnson returned home on Christmas Eve and the license plate numbers from the judges’ personal vehicles.
Deputy District Attorney Keith Bogardus of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.