A Southern California judge was arrested on Thursday in connection with the killing of his wife, whom police officers found dead from a gunshot wound inside the couple’s Anaheim home, the authorities said on Friday.
The judge, Jeffrey Ferguson, 72, of the Orange County Superior Court, was booked into the Anaheim Police Department’s detention facility on Thursday and held on $1 million bail, the police said.
He posted bail on Friday and has been released, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Department records.
The police responded around 8 p.m. on Thursday to reports of a shooting at a home in Anaheim, Calif., which is about 25 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Inside the house, officers found that Judge Ferguson’s wife, Sheryl Ferguson, 65, had been fatally shot, the Anaheim Police Department said in a news release.
It is unclear what led up to the shooting, and the police did not immediately respond to calls for comment on Saturday night.
Photos taken outside the home where Ms. Ferguson was killed showed a beige house flanked by palm trees and bordered by crime scene tape. Another photo shows an official walking near the scene with two firearms in his hands.
As of Saturday night, Judge Ferguson had not been formally charged.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment on Saturday night. The Orange County Superior Court was closed on Saturday and could not be reached for comment.
Judge Ferguson has been a staple in Orange County’s legal community for years.
He received his law degree in 1982 from Western State College of Law in Irvine, Calif. He served as a county deputy district attorney starting in 1983, 10 years after graduating from the University of California, Irvine, with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences and social ecology, according to his biography.
He was named prosecutor of the year four times by the Orange County Narcotics Officers Association, according to his biography.
From 2012 to 2014, he was the president of the North Orange County Bar Association, and in 2014 he was elected as judge of the Superior Court of Orange County.
In 2017, Judge Ferguson was admonished by the California Commission on Judicial Performance because he posted a statement on Facebook about a candidate for judicial office with “knowing or reckless disregard for the truth of the statement,” according to commission documents.
He was also admonished by the commission that year for “being Facebook friends with attorneys who were appearing regularly before him in court,” the documents state.
The judge, the documents state, never disclosed that he was Facebook friends with three criminal defense lawyers who were often appearing before him in court, undermining the credibility of the court, the commission said.
He unfriended the lawyers on Facebook after the commission contacted him about the matter, according to the documents.