WESTWOOD—On Wednesday, June 11 retired Los Angeles Judge James Bascue was arrested for an alleged assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon. At around 11:40 p.m. Wednesday night, police were called to a scene containing an alleged hostage and shots fired at a gated community in the 1900 block of Barrington Avenue in the Sawtelle area.
Police arrived to see the 75-year old former judge through a window, sitting on his couch alone holding two guns. When the police attempted to communicate with Bascue, he raised a gun to his head. One shot was then fired inside the house and one was fired through the window at police. No officers were injured. The SWAT team was called in for backup.
After a 2-hour standoff with SWAT officials and police, Bascue was taken into custody. Police pleaded with Bascue to put his weapons down, and even contacted family members for support. At about 2 a.m. on Thursday, a neighbor convinced him to emerge unarmed. No details about the hostage caller were released.
Bascue worked for years in the law enforcement industry. In the 1970s, he was a prosecutor for the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, and according to the Los Angeles Times, was described at the time as “serious and a straight-arrow.”
He helped form the Hard Core Gang Unit, which aims to suppress gang activity. He served as chief deputy for the DA from 1983-1985. In 1990, Bascue was appointed to the bench by Governor George Deukmejian. He worked his way through the ranks, eventually earning the head position of the criminal division. He served as presiding judge in both 2001 and 2002 after being elected by his bench peers.
The Judicial Council of California recognized his work in 2002 by honoring him with the Jurist of the Year Award. In 2007, he resigned at age 67.
He is being represented by attorney Richard G. Hirsch. Hirsch commented on the situation to the Los Angeles Times stating, “I’ve known Judge Bascue for many, many years. When he was a DA and a judge, and since he’s left the bench. He’s devoted his entire life to seeking justice for everyone, and I hope he will receive the same.” The former judge is currently out on a $100,000 bail that was posted Thursday afternoon.