The family of a murder victim is unhappy with the California judge who sentenced the killer and then officiated his wedding shortly after the sentence was handed down.
Judge Patricia Cookson sentenced Danne Desbrow to 53 years in prison for the 2003 murder of Kevin Santos. After the sentence was handed down, members of the victim’s family were reportedly escorted out of the courtroom quickly. Soon after, the judge officiated Desbrow’s wedding and even provided cake to the newly-married couple.
Santos’ family is demanding an apology and in a letter also said that they will file a formal complaint against the judge to the Commission on Judicial Performance, the state agency that oversees the conduct and discipline of judges, according to U-T San Diego.
The Huffington Post reports that bride said she and Desbrow rekindled their romance while he was in jail, and that during trial she asked the judge if she could marry the couple at sentencing. Destiny Desbrow said Cookson agreed, and even gave the newlyweds two slices of cake that the judge had baked after vows were exchanged.
The letter to the judge was written by attorney Paul Kamenar. In his letter, Kamenar told Cookson that her conduct has caused "emotional pain" to the Santos family and "clearly violated" judicial ethics that call for judges to avoid "undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary," according to the Los Angeles Times.
One of the victim’s sisters also expressed that conducting the ceremony was disrespectful to her family.
“Why does he get a chance to get married, and have happiness, when my brother didn’t get that chance?” Gorgean Santos Asprec asked.
Desbrow was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder for killing Santos a decade ago. Desbrow maintained the killing was in self-defense, and is planning to appeal.