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SAN JOSE — The Santa Clara deputy public defender facing a criminal charge of misleading the court got a big boost Tuesday from the judge he allegedly deceived. Paul Teilh, the retired judge who presided over a January hearing that led to the charge against Deputy PD Thomas Spielbauer, announced Tuesday that he had not been misled. Teilh also urged Public Defender Jose Villareal to reinstate Spielbauer, who was fired over the incident earlier this month. Teilh made the comments from the bench Tuesday and then recused himself from further involvement in the case. In June, the Santa Clara district attorney charged Spielbauer with one misdemeanor count of violating Business & Professions Code � 6128, which forbids attorneys from deceiving the court. According to Deputy DA Frank Berry Jr., who said he will press forward with the criminal charge despite the judge’s statement, Spielbauer was deceiving the court when he told Teilh that a witness in a felony possession of ammunition case was unavailable when, in fact, Spielbauer had met with the witness days earlier. “This is the first occasion I have had to say on the record that I have not been misled,” said Teilh, who had been asked by Spielbauer’s lawyer to clarify what happened at the January hearing. Reading from a page-long statement, Teilh said he was “deeply troubled and disappointed” that the public defender has taken “drastic action against Deputy Public Defender Thomas Spielbauer based on a faulty premise. “At these [January] proceedings both advocates were pressing claims of misconduct against the other. I believed then and still believe that each advocate had acted according to the dictates of his own practice in good faith,” Teilh said. “Had I been misled by either one, there would have been a citation of contempt and a referral to the State Bar.” Teilh also said he was never “consulted” by the PD’s office about whether he’d been misled. Zacharias Ledet, who represents Spielbauer, said Teilh’s statement clears Spielbauer of wrongdoing. “You can’t get any stronger than that,” said Ledet, himself a former deputy PD. The charge “has no future basis because the judge made a finding there was no misconduct.” But Berry dismissed Teilh’s statement as after-the-fact commentary. “With all due respect to Judge Teilh, the record shows the deceit of Mr. Spielbauer clearly,” Berry said. “Judge Teilh’s statement reflected his nobility, his generosity of spirit and his protective attitude toward the attorneys who appear in front of him. But the record speaks for itself,” Berry said. Berry said Teilh’s statement can’t be used in the criminal charge, a position Ledet disputes. “Judge Teilh is available as a witness if they are to proceed with the criminal motion,” Ledet said. Ledet also said Spielbauer, a 23-year veteran and three-time judge candidate, deserves to get his job back. Ledet has said the DA and PD are conspiring against Spielbauer, in part to punish him for speaking out in favor of making the public defender’s job an elected post. Ledet said Villareal “has misused the county personnel process for a personal, political vendetta.” Chief Assistant PD David Mann said he’d seen Teilh’s comments but could not discuss what he described as a personnel matter.

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