SACRAMENTO, CA - After a Sacramento judge was blasted by national TV by Nancy Grace, the family affected by the judge's ruling is calling for her to lose her job.
When Al Salmen talked to Grace and heard her reaction to his grandson's story, it was one of the first times he felt like someone was listening to him.
"Well, I hope the judge is happy tonight because the baby's dead," Nancy Grace said after Salmen called in to her HLN show.
"I felt some justice, that people were now listening, that maybe the right people will look at the judge and ask some questions," Salmen said.
According to Salmen, Sacramento Superior Court judge Sharon Lueras refused to consider key evidence in the case of seven-and-a-half-month-old Ryder Salmen. He died of a drug overdose last year, and it wasn't until earlier this month that police arrested his mother Sarah Stephens on suspicion of intentionally drugging the baby. This is not the first family to criticize Lueras. Last winter, police arrested Phillip Hernandez for killing his 9-year-old son with a hatchet. The boy's mother blamed Lueras for ignoring evidence and awarding custody to the father.
"Your segment was on News10, and I was watching. I froze. I got goose bumps when they showed the picture of the judge," Salmen said.
He saw eerily similar circumstances in the two cases.
"Oh my God, she did it again. Here's another judgment that caused a child his life," Salmen said.
In his grandson's case, Salmen said Lueras not only refused to consider a dirty urinalysis from the mother, she also ignored cell phone video the family offered, which Salmen said showed Stephens under the influence and endangering her baby.
"That was the video evidence that we tried to show the judge, and she didn't want to see it," Salmen said.
Now, he wants Lueras to answer for his grandson's fate.
"I'd like to see her no longer a judge. That's what I'd like to see," he said.
Salmen doesn't just blame Judge Lueras, he wishes he had taken extreme steps to protect Ryder from the courts.
"People say don't blame yourself, but I kind of feel like I let my grandson down," Salmen said. "Did what I could do, but bottom line is he's gone, and the system didn't work."