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IT’S FALL, AND YOU CAN SMELL THE VITRIOL IN THE AIR The Nov. 5 election is still some distance away, but close enough for San Francisco’s two superior court judge candidates to start trading accusations. The fracas began with a recent mailer by Sean Connolly questioning Gail Dekreon’s courtroom experience. Connolly claims he is the only candidate to have tried both civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts. Not so, Dekreon fired back, saying she and attorney Kenneth Quigley have worked together on a civil case and also on two murder trials. In an open letter faxed to newspapers last week, Quigley confirmed her account. He accused Connolly of skirting the truth. “Perhaps an even more important qualification for judicial office is a demonstrated commitment to accurate, truthful and complete factual statement,” he wrote. “I think he’s running a negative campaign,” observed Dekreon, who said she practices both civil and criminal law. “It’s sad that somebody running for judge should misrepresent my record.” Connolly defended his campaign literature’s accusations, saying he has raised the issues with her in the past. “I think Gail’s only experience on a homicide case was second chairing,” said the deputy city attorney. “I don’t consider that as having tried a homicide case.” Connolly’s campaign spokesman, Craig Livingston, said the mailer was intended to show the number of jury trials his candidate has conducted compared with a lesser amount for Dekreon. He suggested that Dekreon provide Connolly with citations of cases she has worked on or tried in federal and state courts. “We’re prepared to stand by our mailer until proven otherwise,” Livingston said. The Bar Association of San Francisco has rated Dekreon as “well qualified” but took “no action” on Connolly. — Dennis J. Opatrny SEMI-CHARMED CASE Every attorney likes to think her practice is rockin’. But for Farella Braun & Martel partner Pamela Davis, the boast is more than a figure of speech. The San Francisco litigator is representing rock ensemble Third Eye Blind in a battle with its insurance carrier. The band, which hails from San Francisco and released the hit single “Semi-Charmed Life” in 1997, is Davis’ first rock ‘n’ roll client. “I’ve done a wide range of things involving pretty much anything that can go wrong, but this is my first entertainment insurance claim,” says Davis. She says she digs the group’s sound and has written all her briefs for the case while listening to Third Eye’s albums. “It’s good karma,” says Davis. The case, Third Eye Blind v. North American Specialty Insurance Co., is the band’s second act on the legal stage stemming from the January 2000 expulsion of guitarman Kevin Cadogan. The ex-guitarist, who reportedly learned his fate when the band deserted him in a Utah hotel room, sued Third Eye Blind for trademark infringement and violation of publicity rights, among other things. That case settled in June of this year under confidential terms. The band’s general liability insurance carrier, NAS, has refused to cover the more than $2 million spent to defend the Cadogan suit, citing an entertainment exclusion in the policy. That’s where Davis comes in. Two weeks ago, Davis scored an important victory for the band when San Francisco Superior Court Judge A. James Robertson II granted her motion for summary adjudication. Meanwhile, the band is back in the studio working on its third album. “We hope that they’re gonna come out of this major battle that they’ve had to defend because of their break-up relatively unscathed,” says Davis. “As whole as they could be.” — Alexei Oreskovic ONE AT A TIME The Santa Clara DA has asked law enforcement to do away with the time-honored police lineup, where six suspects stand shoulder to shoulder. Instead, Santa Clara’s law enforcement has agreed to show suspects to eye witnesses one at a time. “Suspects will be presented sequentially rather than in a six-pack,” Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu said. “That is a change we are making and we are the first county in California to do it.” Sinunu outlined the new “lineup protocol” for police chiefs Thursday. The DA decided to request the change after Department of Justice studies concluded that witnesses more accurately identify suspects when they see them one at a time. The DOJ studied cases in which DNA has proved that innocent individuals were wrongly identified and later convicted. The studies determined that when witnesses view more than one suspect at a time, they often inadvertently compare individuals to others in the lineup instead of comparing them with their memory of the culprit. The protocol also strongly suggests that officers conducting photo or live lineups should not know the identity of the actual suspect, so the office does not influence the process. Sinunu said the lineup protocol will help ensure that innocent people are not wrongly accused and prosecuted. — Shannon Lafferty

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