Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Friday, September 30, 2005

 

Page 3

 

November Discipline Hearing Set for Judge Convicted of Drunk Driving

 

By a MetNews Staff Writer

 

A Nov. 14 discipline hearing has been set for Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Diana R. Hall, who was convicted of drunk driving in 2003, the Commission on Judicial Performance said yesterday.

The CJP also identified the three jurists who have been named by the Supreme Court to serve at the hearing as special masters. Monterey Superior Court Judge Michael S. Fields will preside and will be joined on the panel by San Joaquin Superior Court Judge George J. Abdallah Jr. and San Mateo Judge Superior Court Mark R. Forcum.

The CJP has charged Hall with three counts of misconduct Ů one based on the drunk driving conviction, one on the filing of campaign finance reports in which she allegedly lied about the source of a loan or contribution, and one on an incident in which the judge allegedly threatened a prosecutor who had her disqualified from a case.

Hall was allegedly drunk when she attacked her then-partner, Deidra Dykeman, during an argument at their home in northern Santa Barbara County just before Christmas 2002.

Suspended from the bench with pay while facing felony charges, she was reinstated after being acquitted of one felony count of dissuading a witness by force or threat and misdemeanor counts of domestic battery and exhibiting a firearm. Another felony charge, stemming from Hallís alleged destruction of a phone during the confrontation with Dykeman, was dropped after jurors deadlocked.

The campaign finance charge waged by the CJP stems from a routine audit of Hallís successful campaign for re-election in 2002. Auditors found that Hall made a loan to her campaign five days after Dykeman wrote her a check which was deposited in Hallís personal account, but which allegedly was intended by Dykeman to be a campaign contribution.

That matter resulted in the filing of a misdemeanor charge, trial of which is scheduled for October, her criminal attorney told the MetNews in July.

The other charge levied by the CJP stems from a bench conference in June 2001, when Hall allegedly asked Deputy District Attorney Kevin Duffy to explain why he was exercising a 170.6 challenge

Hall, who is represented by Edith R. Matthai of Robie & Matthai in Los Angeles, filed a formal response to the charges in September admitting that the drunk driving violated canons requiring judges to maintain a high standard of conduct and comply with the law, but denied that it ďin any way was related to the integrity, independence or impartiality in her work as a judicial officer.Ē

In response to the charges relating to campaign contributions, Hall invoked her privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment, noting that the criminal charges remain unresolved.

She denied having the exchange with Duffy cited by the CJP.

 

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