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The Commission on Judicial Performance announced Tuesday it had instituted proceedings against a Santa Barbara, Calif., judge over her conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol and accusations that she committed perjury, engaged in inappropriate political activity, and improperly responded to the filing of a peremptory challenge. If the commission finds Diana Hall guilty, she can be publicly or privately admonished, censured or even removed from the bench. Hall, 55, who has been on the Santa Barbara bench since 1990, was convicted in August 2003 of driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.18 — more than twice the legal limit of .08. The commission also charged Hall with mingling a $20,000 contribution for her re-election campaign with her personal funds, in violation of election law, and falsifying campaign statements about the origins of the contribution under penalty of perjury. Hall is also charged with threatening a deputy district attorney with going to his superior after he filed a 170.6 peremptory challenge against her in a criminal case. Attorney Edward George Jr., who is representing Hall before the CJP, said he had no public comment on the commission’s allegations. No hearing date has been set for Hall, although a response to the charges against her is due to the commission on Aug. 9. Following the hearing, a panel of special masters will report to the commission on their findings. The commission will then decide whether to dismiss the charges against Hall or to discipline her. Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Attorney General Bill Lockyer, said Lockyer’s office is also pursuing charges of election-law violations against Hall. A trial has been set for Oct. 24 in Santa Barbara County. Originally appointed to the bench by Gov. George Deukmejian, Hall received her law degree from the University of San Fernando Valley College of Law. Dresslar also said the attorney general’s office has not yet filed charges against Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elaine Rushing, who was arrested on June 21 after the California Highway Patrol registered blood-alcohol levels of more than twice the legal limit. Rushing crashed her red Porsche twice on the evening of June 21, ending up in a ditch on Riebli Road in Santa Rosa, Calif. The Sonoma County district attorney’s office has referred Rushing’s arrest to Lockyer’s office, to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Dresslar said the attorney general’s office just recently received reports on Rushing’s arrest from the CHP and is anticipating an August court date. Judges charged with any felony or with any misdemeanor related to the consumption of alcohol are required to notify the Commission on Judicial Performance, said Victoria Henley, the commission’s director and chief counsel. Rushing, 57, was appointed to the Sonoma County bench in 1992 by Gov. Pete Wilson. She is married to 6th District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Conrad Rushing.

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