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Commission to Hold Hearings on Complaints Against Kendall

Sept. 13, 2007 — The Commission on Judicial Disabilities intends to conduct hearings in October into complaints filed against V.I. Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall.
Commission Chairman Sen. Ronald Russell said in August that the commission had yet to decide whether to "proceed to hearings or whether to render written decisions." He said the commission would meet early in September to make that decision. (See "Commission Looking into Kendall Complaints Stays Tight-Lipped".)
On Thursday, Russell released a statement announcing that decision. However, the five-member commission is short two members for the hearings. Already short one member, Russell said in his statement, "Attorney Andrew L. Capdeville has voluntarily withdrawn from the hearings involving the complaints against Superior Court Judge Leon Kendall."
Russell said the commission has asked the V.I. Bar Association to submit a temporary replacement for Capdeville. Scot McChain, Bar president, could not be reached late Thursday for comment.
The replacement will serve for all matters involving Judge Kendall, Russell said. Russell, Capdeville, Robert O'Connor and local labor leader Luis "Tito" Morales now sit on the commission, with one vacant seat.
Members to the commission are appointed by three entities: two by the governor; two by the Senate president and one by the V.I. Bar Association president. The current vacancy falls under the aegis of the Senate president. Russell said the body is still awaiting an appointment from Senate President Usie Richards.
Russell said Thursday evening that the commission could proceed legally with just the three members. "However, we are not going to do that because some of the decisions are structured for four members," he said. "We will wait for a replacement from the bar association."
He said the commission met Monday when the decision to proceed to hearings was made. "We met tonight, too, to discuss the logistics, when the hearings will be held," he said. "We are looking at early October."
Speculation has arisen over Capdeville's presence on the board because of his reported allegiance to Kendall. Community activist Maria Ferreras filed a motion in V.I. Superior Court asking that Capdeville recuse himself. She said last week she has received no information from the commission on her motion.
Russell reiterated to the Source what he also stressed in his statement; that all commission matters are confidential. He cited the V.I. Code, stating that hearings are "privileged and confidential, unless the judge authorizes the hearings to be public."
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