Friday Feb 05 2010
Barry's legal battle will stretch into next week
By: Eric J. Gourley, Journal Sports Writer
Judge who upheld eligibility denial agrees to disqualify himself
Another judge disqualified himself Saturday from ruling in the case of a Del Oro High transfer whose legal battle for basketball eligibility will stretch into next week. Placer County Superior Court Judge James D. Garbolino agreed to remove himself from the case two days after Mark A. Campbell, the attorney for French native Remi Barry, filed a peremptory challenge to disqualify the judge based on his marriage to the mayor of Roseville, where three of Del Oro’s rivals are located. Barry’s fate appeared to have been decided Tuesday when Judge Garbolino rejected a request to stay a California Interscholastic Federation denial of the senior’s athletic eligibility. The temporary reversal of the CIF decision would have made Barry eligible to play for the Golden Eagles, who have four remaining regular season games after falling to Oakmont 72-65 Friday night. In a hearing Friday morning at Auburn’s Historic Courthouse, Campbell filed a motion to set aside Judge Garbolino’s prior order. The motion was referred back to the presiding judge, who assigned it to Judge Robert P. McElhany. Judge McElhany met Campbell and two CIF legal representatives and began to review documentation before asking for more time. The judge will accept additional briefing by 11 a.m. Monday. “My understanding is that he intends to rule promptly thereafter,” Campbell said. If the 6-foot-7 Barry will suit up this season, the court will first have to set aside Judge Garbolino’s rejection of the stay, then hear Campbell’s motion again and agree to temporarily reverse the CIF decision. “We’ve been put now two steps away and of course games are passing,” Campbell said. Campbell said it’s “definitely possible” that a decision will be made Monday allowing Barry to take the court for Del Oro’s next game at Roseville Wednesday night. The Sac-Joaquin Section and CIF contend that Barry’s transfer was “athletically motivated” under its bylaws, and Judge Garbolino upheld the decision. The judge is the second to disqualify himself from Barry’s case after Judge Charles D. Wachob’s voluntarily removal on Monday. A group supporting Barry’s battle on popular social networking site Facebook was closing in on 1,000 members Friday afternoon. Brett Bacharach, a Del Oro sophomore and tennis star, created the unofficial petition “2,000 People to let Remi Barry play Del Oro Basketball!” last month. The group’s wall displays pleas from both Golden Eagle faithful as well as students at rival schools around the Sierra Foothill League.