The article seems a bit odd. Its about an interview with incumbent Judge Lisa Schall. Inconsistent with the article’s title, it does not appear that the interviewer asked Schall what she knows of the continuing controversy of Schall challenger, Carla Keehn’s, billboard campaign ads being destroyed on May 9th.
‘‘I have no information regarding Ms. Keehn’s campaign strategies and advertisement efforts.”
The ECM interview questions were emailed to Judge Schall, “BEFORE the billboards came down“. Schall’s response to the questions were received by ECM shortly after their destruction and containing Schall’s quote as noted above. Earilier ECM coverage of the race regarding additional questionable acts may be read at: MORE JUDICIAL CANDIDATES SPEAK OUT, CRITICIZE SAN DIEGO BAR’S RATING SYSTEM
Citing News 10 as its source, the ECM article states that the official reason Clear Channel, the involved billboard company, provided for their sudden unilateral decision to tear down Keehn’s campaign billboards was:
“Unfortunately our protocol for political ads was not followed and we took the ad down. We have offered the client a variety of resolutions, including the fullest refund allowable under the laws governing political contributions”
But the ECM article does not mention that their cited source, News 10, also reported that a local Clear Channel representative stated they were “pressured” to destroy the Keehn campaign ads. The Clear Channel employee’s acknowledgement of pressure to destroy Schall’s challenger’s ads, came prior to the Clear Channel official statement of unfollowed protocol for the reason.
News 10 was not able to track Schall down to ask what she knew of the matter. (See video of them trying in the link above). ECM just wrote a whole article about the billboards while interviweing Schall and apparently did not find it important to ask her. (See UPDATE above, the ECM Schall interview questions were asked of Schall before the Keehn advertising destruction)
Shouldn’t someone be getting answers from candidate Schall of what she knows of candidate Keehn’s campaign ads’ destruction?
The fact remains, NO ONE is talking about WHO put pressure on Clear Channel to destroy $14,000 worth of Keehn’s campaign ads – in a race for a government job with its sole job function being to oversee upholding of laws. If someone running in that race, knows something about laws being violated in the campaign via the use of political pressure; then shouldn’t that person(s) be made to tell what they know and tell if they or their supporters played a role in the pressuring and campaign ad destruction?
If everything was above-board about the Keehn ad destructions, it seems the anonymous pressurer(s) would be coming forward and wanting to share why they felt it to be morally and legally right to use political clout to have them taken down. It also seems that Clear Channel would have worked with Keehn to edit the advertising for which she had already paid, if it was deemed in need of change — rather than simply unilaterally deciding to destroy it.
Also not in the May 15th ECM article, which again is supposedly about the billboards, is that the billboard company, Clear Channel, had input into the final product, including the final text, before they were erected. This relevant fact was reported earlier by San Diego Free Press on May 12th, while providing the Clear Channel email stating some of the changes the company suggested. To quote from the Clear Channel April email to Keehn:
“I think that you shouldmaybe just leave it at THE ONLY CANDIDATE NOT CONVICTED OF A CRIME. For the freeway board and drop the rest of the words on the right side of the board.”
Additionally, while apparently not asking Schall what she knows of the billboard destructions or contacting the local Clear Channel office to ask what they know of who caused the destruction; ECM instead used the debacle to provide Judge Schall a platform to give reasons for her longtime and publicly known poor track record as a judicial court officer. It is a portion of this poor track record that was publicized on Keehn’s now destroyed billboards. (see Clear Channel suggested edit above).
According to the ECM article, Schall is claiming that stress, and her non-understanding rules of law causing her overstepping of legal boundaries; are the reasons for her prior poor judgment calls and their resultant public admonishments from those who are to oversee judicial ethics in California — the Commission on Judicial Performance.
The reasons given seem counter-productive if Schall’s goal for granting the ECM interview was to instill voter confidence in her abilities. Trial court judges must work under stress daily, while deciphering complex and often contentious problems. Being able to handle stress is a required ability needed to do a proficient job. Assuring laws are understood, upheld, and their bounds not overstepped, is the primary function of a trial court judge.
The ECM article also makes no mention that this is the first time Judge Schall has ever had a challenger to her judicial office since first appointed in 1985. It makes no mention that Schall’s fellow appointed judges and endorsers have been unethically harassing Keehn and her endorsers since February of this year.
Why the collusive jurists’ harassment to Schall’s benefit? Answer: Because if Schall can be removed from office by voter choice, then the same thing could happen to all of the appointed judges in the future. The local judges are using this race to back-door advocate for their own life time Superior Court judicial appointments by default; and by curtailing voter ability to remove them. No brave challengers to their judicial seats equals their automatic judicial re-elections. If challenger candidates are intimidated to drop from the race, then voters have no choice but to vote for the incumbent judge — no matter how inept or compromised that they are.
Again, the collusive judicial misconduct by the local judges is confirmed by a February 10th email sent from Tom Homann LGBT Law Association (THLA) President Nicholas Fox to Keehn. To quote:
“As you know, both Judge Rubin and Judge Rosenstein have expressed a concern coming from their colleagues on the Superior Court regarding your running against a sitting judge. As strong supporters of THLA, Judges Rubin and Rosenstein wanted to alert THLA of these concerns. As you know, many judges on the Superior Court support THLA and its mission. They attend our events, including our annual dinner. In fact, I think the THLA annual dinner has the best showing from the Superior Court as compared to all other diversity bar associations. Our good relationship with the bench is something we have worked hard to establish, and something we cherish and need to protect.
The underlying tension is that these supportive judges are concerned by a THLA Board member taking on one of their colleagues in an election. Although all judges are individuals and subject to electoral challenge, they also collectively form part of the greater “Superior Court.” There is a great deal of collegiality among judges, and having a Board member of an organization that the judges strongly support directly challenge one of their own colleagues has raised concern. Of course, THLA strives to build a healthy relationship with the bench, and we have been successful over the years in doing so by being supportive of the bench’s efforts. Openly challenging a sitting judge can be seen by some as undermining the support and relationship we have worked so hard to build….
There is a generally expressed a concern that a Board member openly challenging a sitting judge will reflect poorly on the organization and be seen as an affront to the Superior Court and its sitting judges generally. The Superior Court’s perception of THLA may be negatively affected (as is perhaps evidenced by the concerns received thus far)…
Because of the concerns coming from various sectors in the legal community, we ask that you consider resigning from the Board during the pendency of the election. This will protect THLA by not having a current Board member directly challenge a sitting judge, and hopefully will alleviate concerns from the Board and bench that THLA’s reputation may be damaged as part of the electoral process.”
The reality is, that no matter how one spins it for publication or what questions Judge Schall is not made to answer, the facts remain the same. Lisa Schall has the worst record of violating the Code of Judicial Ethics in the entire state; and among all judges who are still on the bench. Typically, a judge with this poor of a performance record would have already been removed from office by the Commission on Judicial Performance. These facts were confirmed by the San Diego Union Tribune on May 12th.
California Judicial Canon 2 states,
“A judge shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all of the judge’s activities. B. Use of the Prestige of Judicial Office (2) A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office or use the judicial title in any manner, including any oral or written communication, to advance the pecuniary or personal interests of the judge or others.”
Judicial Canon 5 states,
“A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.”
Given that campaign tactics by and on behalf of appointed and never before challenged, Judge Lisa SCHALL, continue to raise eyebrows to the point that they have been found newsworthy by several professional journalists (not including East County Magazine’s latest writing); a reasonable person would conclude that the Schall and fellow local jurists have given “the appearance of impropriety in their judicial activities” by misuse of “prestige of judicial office” and “judicial title” to “advance the personal interests” of themselves and other appointed “judges”. A reasonable person would conclude that they have given “the appearance” they are “engaged in political and campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary”; and have therefore, violated Canons 2, 2.B.(2) and 5.
As is true for the Clear Channel official self-justification for questionable acts; a reasonable person would conclude that the Schall recent self-justifications provided for the ECM article, ring hollow as mere excuse for repeated and apparent continuing misconduct.
We still want to know: Why is no one asking Judge Schall to explain the reason why her campaign website first stated endorsement by San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, with the stated endorsement then removed from the site at a later date?
About Sharon Kramer
Hi, I'm an advocate for integrity in health marketing and in the courts.