Robert J. Perry is a Los Angeles County Superior Court trial judge who will preside over legal proceedings for former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle who stands accused of murdering unarmed train passenger Oscar Grant during New Year’s Day, 2009 at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland.
The case, a highly publicized incident that was caught on tape by video recorders and widely disseminated through media, was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles County at the request of Mehserle’s defense attorney, Michael Rains.
Perry, known as a no-nonsense judge with a distinguished legal background as a former federal prosecutor, was selected to preside over the high profile trial.
In Dec. 2009, he barred television cameras and other electronic recording devices from the trial against Mehserle, reaffirming his penchant for mitigating intense media coverage in the interest of a fair trial in his courtroom.
Perry has dealt with numerous high profile cases; he was the sitting judge in a hearing against Anna Nicole Smith’s boyfriend and doctors, and presided over the plea deal of Rafael Perez, a former LAPD officer involved in the Rampart police corruption scandal.
He has served on the bench at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles since 1992. His courtroom is located on the ninth floor, a security intensive portion of the complex where courtrooms for a majority of high profile cases are located.
Perry is expected to preside over the trial beginning in June.
Information compiled from Beat research and news services