Pubdate: 17 Jun 1999
Source: Orange County Register (CA)
Copyright: 1999 The Orange County Register
Author: Stuart Pfeifer, The Orange County Register
Note: This is the same Judge who sentenced Marvin Chavez and wouldn't allow
Chavez to use a Prop. 215 defense, resulting in headlines like 'Cannabis
Club Founder Gets Six-Year Sentence.' Just some of the articles and
editorial comment are at:


CRIME: Tests Put His Blood-Alcohol Level At Almost Three Times The Legal
Limit During The Crash.

The supervising judge at the Westminster courthouse was charged with
drunken driving this week after tests showed he had a blood-alcohol content
nearly three times the legal limit when he crashed into a tree, authorities
said Wednesday.

Huntington Beach police officers found Superior Court Judge Thomas J.
Borris sitting on a curb next to his dented 1996 Jeep Cherokee at about
1:25 a.m. Saturday, police said. They arrested him after determining he had
been drinking, police Lt. Chuck Thomas said.

Tests revealed that Borris, a judge for six years, had a blood-alcohol
level of 0.22 percent, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent,
at the time of the crash, court records show.

The judge declined to discuss the case Wednesday during an interview
outside his second-floor courtroom. He would not answer questions about his
drinking habits or his ability to preside over future drunken-driving
cases. "I don't have anything to say," the judge said.

The judge's lawyer, Edward Munoz, said he does not think the arrest will
affect Borris' work.

"It was a mistake, and it has no effect on his performance on the bench,"
Munoz said. "He is a well-respected jurist in Orange County - a rising
star. This was a regrettable and unfortunate situation."

Borris, 45, was held for about four hours at Huntington Beach jail. The
judge did not attempt to use his position to influence arresting officers,
Thomas said.

Presiding Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Leary removed county judges from
the case Tuesday, court records show. The case will be assigned to a Los
Angeles judge, said Orange County Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh.
Arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 6.
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