Thursday, October 26, 2006
Montgomery’s Conduct Confirms Negative Assessments
As a footnote to our discussion of Montgomery, we note that our assessment of him expressed prior to the primary election, as well as the rating by LACBA’s Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee, have been validated by Montgomery’s post-primary stunt of listing himself on the ballot as “Criminal Civil Attorney.”
The Elections Code requires that a ballot designation be “either the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate, or the principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents.”
To gain a ballot designation, the candidate must state under penalty of perjury that it is an accurate one.
Yet, Montgomery has not handled criminal cases in the last year...or, indeed, for many years. The candidate has told the MetNews that he handled three criminal cases early in his career.
There is only one way the designation “Criminal Civil Attorney” could be viewed as other than false. That is by noting the absence of a comma between “Criminal” and “Civil.” A comma would function as the conjunction “and.” With no comma, the first term necessarily modifies the second.
Montgomery won’t say just what it is that he did to assist the FBI and the CIA—a boast he made at the start of his campaign on his website. And chances are he won’t divulge on what basis he has characterized himself as a “civil attorney” who is describable as a “criminal.”
Assuming, however, that the omission of a comma was simply a punctuation error, and that Montgomery had no intention of confessing criminality, it might be well if the Public Integrity Unit of the District Attorney’s Office would consider whether, in fact, he has not committed a criminal offense. Is a statement under penalty of perjury by a candidate that he is a “criminal” lawyer—that is, handles criminal cases—perjury when he does not handle such cases?
Too, the State Bar should consider whether Montgomery has breached Rule 1-700 of the Rules of Professional Conduct by misrepresenting his qualifications.
We reiterate our strong endorsement of Hayden Zacky over Montgomery, as well as Stuart over Barquist, and Daviann Mitchell over John Gutierrez.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company