Friday, March 21, 2014

Too much collegiality among judges at the San Diego Superior Court?

UPDATE: Bonnie Dumanis is no longer on Judge Lisa Schall's list of endorsers. Here's the earliest list I can find. Bonnie Dumanis was no longer on the list on March 21, 2014 when I downloaded a new version of the list from Schall's website.

I understand that San Diego Superior Court judges don't want to be unseated in elections. In fact, I agree that judges should not be subject to elections. I'd like to see a lottery of highly qualified applicants for judicial positions. (The appointment process is almost as political as elections.)

The San Diego Superior Court judges are all interested in protecting the status quo. They've all endorsed Schall.

But the upcoming election battle between sitting judge Lisa Schall and challenger Carla Keehn seems to offer an opportunity for judges and lawyers in San Diego to make some changes to a system that has produced so many abuses. . One of those abuses is the injunction against this website that Mr. Shinoff's law firm got from Judge Judith Hayes. That injunction was thrown out by the Court of Appeal.

If you look down at the bottom of Judge Schall's list of endorsements as of March 21, 2014, below the bigshot right-wingers and retired judges, you'll see the endorsements by local "professionals". Two facts are noteworthy:

1. the list is very short;

2. Judge Schall is endorsed by not one, but TWO, of the lawyers for Manuel Paul and other school officials who have been charged with (and in some cases pleaded guilty to) public corruption--(Daniel Shinoff and James Pokorny). Why do these lawyers support Schall? Perhaps Shinoff is grateful to Schall for dismissing the Sarquilla case. Or maybe he figures this is a chance to curry some favor with ALL the judges of the Superior Court. He figured out what can happen to people opposing a sitting judge. (See more on Mr. Shinoff at the bottom of this post.)

School lawyer Dan Shinoff
Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz

School lawyer Dan Shinoff and James Pokorny
are two of the seven "professionals" who have
endorsed Judge Lisa Schall over challenger Carla Keehn.
Pokorny (not pictured) is the criminal lawyer for
several of Shinoff's clients.

Judge Lisa Schall's
Professional Endorsements:

Mr. Daniel Shinoff [civil attorney for several school officials before and after they were charged with public corruption]
Ms. Lori Clark Viviano (child custody attorney)
Mr. Douglas Brust [attorney Douglas V. Brust, I assume]
Ms. Sharon Blanchet [another family law attorney; she is a co-defendant with Schall in this case]
Dr. Nolan Bellisario [a dentist--how many people with that name could be living in San Diego?]
Mr. Bruce Beals [yet another family law attorney]
Mr. James Pokorny[criminal defense attorney for several local school officials, many if not most of whom were/are Daniel Shinoff clients]
Mr. Casey Gwinn, President, Family Justice Center Alliance

Meanwhile, federal prosecutor Carla Keehn is endorsed by the following on March 21, 2014:

Carla Keehn's
Professional Endorsements

Greg Vega, Esq.
Alex Kreit, Esq.
Alex Landon, Esq.
Bridget Kennedy, Esq.
Charles Rees, Esq.
Craig Leff, Esq.
Daniel Drosman, Esq.
Daniel Smith, Esq.
David Lamb, Esq.
Ellis Johnston, Esq.
Eric Alan Isaacson, Esq.
Eric Mitnick, Esq.
Ezekiel E. Cortez, Esq.
Francisco Sanchez, Esq.
Jason Forge, Esq.
Jedd Bogage,Esq.
Joseph Daley, Esq.
Linda Hughes, Esq.
Lisa A. Damiani, Esq.
Mark Strazzeri
Mayra Garcia, Esq.
Michael E. Burke, Esq.
Michael Stein, Esq.
Paul Turner, Esq.
Rafi Rokach
Sharon Roberts
Sylvia Baiz, Esq.
Ted Pintar, Esq.
Jacqueline Crowle, Esq.
William Mathew Brown, Esq.
(partial list)

More on Lisa Schall's supporter Dan Shinoff:
Mr. Shinoff's law firm tried valiantly to get the Court of Appeal to agree that I, a retired school teacher, should be forbidden from speaking his name, or the name of his firm. Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz law firm has spent over 6 years trying to shut down my little blog that gets 300 hits on a good day. Why would a large firm of lawyers that rakes in millions from local school districts try to get the Court of Appeal to approve an obviously unconstitutional prior restraint by San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith Hayes? The Court of Appeal declined to uphold the preposterous injunction. On the other hand, Shinoff's firm must have been pleased when the American Bar Association published a glaringly incorrect report about the case.

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