Thursday, March 20, 2014

San Diego Democrats Vote to Endorse Carla Keehn for Superior Court Judge to replace Lisa Schall in June 2014 election

Challenger Carla Keehn, federal prosecutor

See also Education attorney Dan Shinoff steps up to support embattled judge Lisa Schall. See all posts re Carla Keehn.
See all posts re Judge Lisa Schall.

For the first time in recent memory, we have a challenger for San Diego Superior Court Judge who isn't a right-wing extremist. San Diego Democrats have endorsed Carla Keehn to replace Judge Lisa Schall.

I still think judges should be appointed, not elected. I'd like to see them chosen from a pool of qualified candidates by lottery. Judicial appointments are almost as political as elections (see second story below about Lisa Schall's rebuke for politicking for the governor who appointed her, George Deukmejian. But for now, it's nice to see a serious person challenging judges who ignore the law.

Judge Lisa Schall

San Diego Democrats Vote to Endorse Carla Keehn for Jurist Seat 20
Posted on March 19, 2014
Katy's Exposure

The San Diego Democratic Party’s Central Committee met on the evening of March 18th in Kearny Mesa. According to Committee Chair Francine Busby, last night’s packed room was an unusual occurrence for their committee meetings. The crowd overwhelmingly voted “Aye” to endorse Carla Keehn as the best candidate for San Diego County Superior Court jurist seat 20. Committee member and Oceanside City Councilwoman, Esther Sanchez, spoke to delay the endorsement vote until April. She was one of only three or four ”Nay” votes heard.

The incumbent judge in seat 20 is Lisa Schall. Appointed to the bench 28 years ago by Governor Deukmejian, her ballot statement claims she is endorsed for the upcoming June 3rd election by ”All 125 judges of the San Diego Superior Court”. Her website claims endorsement of the statewide jurist organization, the “Alliance of California Judges”.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Paula Rosenstein was appointed to the bench by Governor Brown in late 2012. In February of this year, she and fellow sitting judge, David Rubin, caused Ms. Keehn to lose the election endorsement of Tom Homann LGBT Law Group by questionable means. Judge Rosenstein also spoke at the February Democratic Party’s meeting against a Keehn election endorsement. She did not attend last night’s meeting.

Loud cheers went out in the crowd when Keehn took the podium to speak before votes were cast last night. Seems the local Dems understand that by law, Thou Can Challenge a Sitting Judge!
Question regarding the following story: would Judge Schall have continued to do favors for Governor Dukmejian if Mike Aguirre had not been present at the Southland Club political forum? Would any other lawyer have filed a complaint? Lawyers willing to speak truth to power are rare. The California Bar Association is basically a business group, dedicated to keeping the money flowing to its pockets from a well-oiled justice system. It does not seem to be much interested in promoting ethics in our legal system.

Judge's Credibility Lacking
Los Angeles Times
September 28, 1986

As a judge of the San Diego Municipal Court, Lisa Guy-Schall from time to time is called upon to consider the credibility of witnesses. We can't help wondering how she would react to a witness who told the same kind of story she told last week when she was accused of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct.

The trouble started when Guy-Schall showed up to speak on behalf of Gov. George Deukmejian at a candidates' forum sponsored by the Southland Club for Business and Professional Women. Attorney Michael Aguirre, a Democrat who is not known for his reluctance to enter a controversy, was at the meeting representing Deukmejian's opponent, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.

Aguirre filed a complaint with the California Commission on Judicial Performance alleging that Guy-Schall's talk was a violation of judicial ethics guidelines that prohibit judges from endorsing or campaigning for candidates for non-judicial office.

Guy-Schall responded that she was unaware the meeting the Deukmejian campaign asked her to address was political. She said she never saw the flyer that clearly advertised the meeting as a political forum, and since she arrived late and spoke first she did not get the true sense of the meeting until Aguirre began to criticize her in his own speech.

Guy-Schall said her speech was not "a typical campaign talk," but rather addressed the progress of women in business and industry during the last four years.

" . . . Naturally, Governor Deukmejian came into it," she said.

It's hard to imagine a judge being quite so naive. We suspect--and hope--that were this a case in Municipal Court, Judge Guy-Schall would find witness Guy-Schall lacking credibility.


Anonymous said...

I agree that judges should be appointed rather than elected. The problem with electing judges is that unless a voter knows them personally or have appeared before them, they are apathetic as to who they mark their ballot for and will usually take the path of least resistance and vote in a name that has become familiar due to the candidate being the incumbant or because of the publicity they have gotten that is often financed by members of their legal community who the incumbent may have rewarded with favorable bench decisions.
The later has created a large problem particuarly in the family and probate courts where many of the litigants are self-represented and the court takes upon itself to appoint public guardians, administrators or professional fiduciaries as trustees even when it conficts with trust terms.
While this author does not know the judge's motives for certain, it is not hard to guess at them. The following theory is offered to illustrate the problem with a system in which political entanglements are allowed and even encouraged.
When a public administrator is appointed, the trust is charged, but the money does not go to the individual. It goes to the county. The county funds the courts which provide judges and their staff's paychecks.
Probate attorneys and professional fiduciaries fraternize with judges through local bar functions and may be personal friends with them. They are often the ones who contribute liberally to their election campaigns and endorse them.
Pro pers, on the other hand, have nothing to offer a judge. In the aforementioned case, the beneficiaries who are active in the case live outside the county. They can't even contribute one vote.
Is there a law against this kind of behavior where pro pers are openly denied their rights and legal community professionals are given the opportunity to walk away with the assets of trusts comprised of monies that the trustors worked hard for in order to leave something to those they cared about? One can argue that yes there is. It falls under the California Organized Crime Act where it is illegal to band together to commit extortion under the color of official right.
Do voters care that there are cases where this goes on in San Diego's courts? Not likely. The media is afraid to take on the courts and expose it. Frankly no one cares until it happens to them.
The case for appointed judges rests in that they don't have less reason to keep their legal community happy.
The only problem with appointed judges is that if you get a bad one appointed, they are in there for life.
I believe the answer lies in having what is the equivalent of a 'grand jury' who oversees judge's performance. This would be a group of citizens who are chosen to serve for a certain period. They would function much as the current judicial commission but not be part of the judicial system. One of the rules should be that they don't fraternize with members of the legal community. Any of them that are caught doing so would automatically lose their seat.
"Bad" judges would be replaced upon determination by the committee after evaluating submitted complaints.
As suggested by the article's author, appointed judges would be chosen from a judge's lottery.
This would keep judge hopefulls from trying to influence anyone, including the citizen's group, to get appointed.

Anonymous said...

1995, I get ptsd from the courtroom in Vista from Lisa Guy SChull. I never said a word and Lisa said "it was YOu:' next THE BAILIFF SHOVED MY HEAD AGAINST THE DESK.
Then i was escorted out of the court room by the bailiff. the story on the webistes are not true. TO COVER UP A CORRUPT SYSTEM. The dad wanted to give the kids up for adoption, threatened to kill the mother.

Due to the grossly misconduct of Lisa Guy SChull, the kids grandma suffered a stroke and was suicidal when JOanna Slivka was in jail for 5 days. The mom just lost a son to suicide.

The stepmom Shelly Lynn Lawson verbally abused the kids which is in court documents and letters to the mother who almost died due to Lisa Guy Schull gross misconduct. Shelly Lynn Lawson made the death threat tape.

Etta Gullivan too was a rotten Commissioner. The kids were so controlled by this part of government corruptness. VErna Edna Long-Boyd PAver never attended court not Helen PAver and JOhn CLyde PAver. the kids mother stacey velky attended court in HER WHEELCHAIR Until 2004 when the cASE was transferred to Rancho Cucamonga Court. Robin Devito corrupt, Sissie Barker was a great minor council in Rancho Cucamonga court.