Thursday, May 16, 2002
Appeals Court Candidate Lee Clarifies Record, Informs Governor’s Office He Did Not Serve in Vietnam
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Charles C. Lee, a contender for a seat on this district’s Court of Appeal, has informed the governor’s judicial appointments secretary that he did not serve in Vietnam, as may have been implied by erroneous information in his application for the post.
“[I] want to make a correction to my application where I stated that I had received the National Defense and Vietnam Campaign ribbons while in the military,” Lee told Burt Pines in a letter dated Tuesday. A copy was provided to the MetNews by the judge.
“In reviewing some old military papers the other day, I noticed that the actual wording was the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal,” the judge continued. “Please note that I was never actually in Vietnam; the medal was awarded for support activities while stationed in the Philippines. I was a yeoman (clerk typist) in my unit.”
Lee enclosed a copy of his discharge papers, verifying that he was awarded the two service medals.
Lee told the MetNews yesterday he had written Pines in response to a story that appeared in Monday’s paper. That story, regarding Lee and the other two candidates currently being evaluated for the position, Judges Richard Rico and Aurelio Munoz, described Lee as having served in Vietnam with the U.S. Navy.
That information was based on a biography entry submitted by the judge and printed in the 2001 edition of “California Courts and Judges,” edited by Deborah Bogen and published by James Publishing. The same information has appeared in previous editions of the book.
In that biography, Lee indicated that he was a recipient of the National Defense Ribbon and the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon. That same information, the judge acknowledged, appears on the application that he submitted to the governor and the personal data questionnaire being reviewed by the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation.
Lee, a naval enlisted man from 1969 to 1972, said he wrote down the information “from memory” and did not review his records until he read Monday’s story—which did not specify the names of the medals. He said the story prompted him to wonder “why anyone would think I served in Vietnam, since I have never told anyone I did.”
Lee also commented that, contrary to Monday’s story, he is not a Republican. He said he was registered as a member of the GOP in the 1990s, but switched to the Democratic Party in 1998.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company