The case of retired Judge James Bascue, 75, accused of firing a gun in his West Los Angeles home during a June 2015 standoff with police, has been moved to Orange County because all of the judges in Los Angeles County had to recuse themselves.
SANTA ANA — A retired Los Angeles Superior Court judge pleaded not guilty today to a single count of assault with a firearm for allegedly firing a shot at police officers during a standoff at his West Los Angeles home.
The case against James Bascue, 75, is being handled in Orange County because all of the judges in Los Angeles County had to recuse themselves. Bascue left the Los Angeles Superior Court bench about eight years ago. The case is being prosecuted by the state Attorney General’s Office.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals, who is presiding over the case, ordered Bascue to continue wearing a bracelet that records whether the defendant has had any alcohol. He also said the defendant cannot possess a gun for the time being.
Bascue concurred with Goethals’ rulings.
“I certainly understand that and I agree with the court’s wisdom,” Bascue said.
Bascue’s attorneys, Michael D. Nasatir and Richard Hirsch, said they asked for a delay in the preliminary hearing so they could have time to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors before then.
“We’re working with the attorney general to try to settle the case if possible,” Hirsch said.
Nasatir said the root cause of the incident was alcohol and that his client has been working on staying sober since his arrest.
“He continues to live a life of sobriety and he’s very committed to it,” Nasatir said.
According to police, Bascue called authorities around 11:45 p.m. June 10 and claimed he was being held hostage. When police arrived and looked through a window of the townhouse in the 1900 block of South Barrington Avenue, they saw Bascue sitting on a couch with two guns.
When officers tried to make contact with him, he began loading magazines and a gun, police said. At one point he pointed a gun at his head. Police said a shot was fired inside the home, and another through the window toward officers. No officers were hurt.
As SWAT officers were being called, the suspect contacted a neighbor, who talked him into walking out of the residence, according to police. No one else was in the residence at the time of the standoff, and no other suspects were found.
His attorney, Richard Hirsch, said during an earlier court hearing that Bascue has been undergoing treatment following his arrest “to deal with some serious issues in his life.”
Bascue retired in June 2007 after reaching the maximum retirement age of 67.
Bascue, who earned his law degree from UC Davis, was a Los Angeles County deputy district attorney from 1971 to 1990, serving as chief deputy from 1983 to 1985 under then-District Attorney Robert Philibosian.
In 1990, Bascue was appointed to the bench by then-Gov. George Deukmejian, and he was elected assistant presiding judge in 1999.
Bascue served as presiding judge from 2001-02, and received the Judicial Council of California’ Jurist of the Year award in 2002.