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The Forgotten Years

Fresno Judge Lenore Schreiber

Posted on | March 15, 2010 | 266 Comments

Lenore Schreiber was an intelligent and aggressive lawyer with the Fresno County Public Defender’s office when Governor Jerry Brown appointed her a Judge of the Fresno County Municipal Court in January 1978.

In selecting Schreiber, Brown was appointing the first woman to serve on the Fresno court.

Prior to her appointment, several senior members of the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office wrote to Governor Brown’s Legal Affairs Secretary, Anthony Kline, strongly objecting to the appointment and offering to provide specific details of their reasons for opposing Schreiber’s appointment.  Neither Brown nor his staff ever contacted them, never obtained obtained the details offered, and went ahead with the appointment.

Had Brown responded to their offer, he would have learned that the DA’s staff had been investigating Schreiber for a year based on statements from several members of the Nuestra Familia gang and the EME-Mexican Mafia gang.

The Fresno Bee newspaper reported on July 11, 1981, that Schreiber’s adversaries in the DA’s office say that “she is an unabashed sympathizer, even an accomplice, of killers and dope dealers.”  The Bee went on to report that even “Her friends say that perhaps she allowed herself to get too close to her former clients.”

One of those former clients was Daniel (Choco) Montellano, reputed to be part of the inner circle of the Mexican Mafia gang..  Montellano was also reputed to be a hit man for that gang.  While he was Screiber’s client he was accused and in jail for murders in Fresno and Los Angeles.

In October of 1978, while Montellano was out on bail, Schreiber – now a judge and not Montellano’s attorney – met with him, and according to her, drove him to an appointment with a probation officer.  Investigative reporters for the Los Angeles Times reported that she had loaned her car to Montellano, which showed a closer relationship than would be normal even between an attorney and client.

Judge Schreiber herself stated that during her visits to Montellano she was in “no way attempting to practice law.”

Schreiber said her enemies disliked her because of her Jewish heritage, because she had humiliated the DA’s office in trials when she was a defense attorney, and because she had friends who were members of minorities.

Comments

266 Responses to “Fresno Judge Lenore Schreiber”

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