Convicted Judge Sues Retirement System

Judge Seeks Full Judicial Pension

A former San Diego Superior Court judge convicted in a corruption case a decade ago is suing the state retirement system for cutting his pension, it was reported Monday.

G. Dennis Adams filed suit Aug. 10 seeking to overturn a June 21 decision by the board of the California Public Employees Retirement System that reduced his judicial pension, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The retirement system decided his pension should be reduced from 49 percent of his final salary to about 39 percent, a ruling based on a law that forbids paying retirement benefits to judges convicted of a felony related to their official duties, the newspaper reported.

Adams, 65, was one of three judges charged with accepting more than $100,000 in gifts from lawyer Patrick Frega in exchange for giving Frega favorable treatment in his lawsuits.

Adams was sentenced to 41 months in a federal prison and served about half that time.

Because Adams became a judge in 1979, the board decided to deny only the part of his retirement he earned from 1993 -- when his last full term as a judge began under the 1988 law -- until he was removed from the bench in September 1995, according to the Union-Tribune.

Adams contends the board erred by applying the law to a judge whose tenure on the bench began before the law took effect.

The suit argues that the decision was based on the erroneous reasoning that judges' retirement benefits start and restart with each six-year judicial term, rather than when a judge first takes office, the Union-Tribune reported.

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