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Judge Maligned in Campaign Faces Challenger in TrialDaniel Maguire testified in the ethics case against the lawyer accused of using mudslinging mailers.
2013-07-18 05:25:27 PM
SAN FRANCISCO — A sitting judge took the witness stand on Thursday and faced an unusual adversary — his former political opponent, who is now facing ethics charges and possible discipline over his campaign tactics.
On Day 3 of the State Bar of California's trial against Clinton Parish, Yolo County Superior Court Judge Daniel Maguire testified for the bar's Office of Chief Trial Counsel that Parish's 2012 judicial campaign had spread false allegations through mailers and a campaign website.
Senior Trial Counsel Sherrie McLetchie, who is prosecuting the case, argues that Parish, then a Yolo County deputy DA, violated the bar's Rules of Professional Conduct during his campaign to unseat Maguire. Provisions governing campaigns for judicial offices prohibit a candidate from "knowingly, or with reckless disregard for the truth, [misrepresenting] the identity, qualifications, present position or any other fact concerning the candidate or his or her opponent."
Parish, who is representing himself, has argued that the First Amendment protects the political speech at issue. He also contends that he had little involvement with the fliers, which he entrusted to campaign staffers.
Before cross-examining his former opponent, Parish offered an awkward apology.
"I've never handled shame before. And I do apologize," he said. "Having said that, I have to cross-examine you."
Judge Patrice McElroy, who is presiding over the case, frequently interrupted Parish's line of questioning, citing a lack of relevance. The trial was expected to end after Thursday's testimony.
In his campaign materials, Parish attacked Maguire's activities before 2010 when he became a judge in Yolo County, near Sacramento. Maguire had been a civil litigator in California and later an aide to then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Parish asserted that in Maguire's private practice career he had been involved "in a sordid case of corporate fraud that involved payment of bribes in Russia." Parish also accused Maguire of being a "part of Arnold's legal team that made decisions including commuting the sentence of convicted murderer Esteban Núñez."Among other Parish campaign materials at issue are a photo implying that the Winters Police Department had officially endorsed him for judge and yard signs that suggested Parish was already judge.
During her direct examination of Maguire, McLetchie aimed to set the record straight on Maguire and attack Parish's credibility.
"Is it true that you had absolutely no involvement with this client?" McLetchie asked the judge, referring to the Moscow allegations made by Parish.
He had not, Maguire replied.
Maguire also said he gave no input "whatsoever" to the governor about commuting the sentence of Núñez, son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez.
McLetchie is seeking a public reproval of Parish and a one-year period of compliance, including mandatory attendance of State Bar Ethics School. The bar also wants to require that he passes the Multi-State Professional Responsibility Examination.
According a pretrial filing by Parish, he has been willing to accept "a truly private reproval with conditions including but not limited to additional ethics classes."
Maguire ultimately won the June 5, 2012, election by a landslide, winning 77 percent of the 31,000 votes cast. Parish received 23 percent.
Parish left the DA's office last November, according to the Daily Democrat in Yolo County, which reported that he had first been placed on paid leave following the controversial June 2012 election.
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