Friday, February 15, 2013
State Bar Charges Former Judicial Candidate With Campaign Misconduct
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The State Bar of California said yesterday it has charged a former prosecutor and judicial candidate in Yolo County with violating ethics rules by lying about himself and his opponent.
In a notice of disciplinary charges dated Monday, the Office of Chief Trial Counsel accused Clinton Parish of violating Canon 5B(2) of the Code of Judicial Ethics.
That provision, adopted in 1995, subjects an attorney to discipline if, in connection with a bid for appointment or election to a judgeship, the lawyer knowingly or recklessly misrepresents his or her, or an election opponent’s, “identity, qualifications, present position, or any other fact.”
Parish, then a deputy district attorney, challenged Yolo Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire’s bid for election to the court last year. Maguire, who worked in the administration of Arnold Schwarzenegger before the then-governor appointed him to the bench in 2010, trounced Parish with about 77 percent of the vote.
Parish, 41, stands accused of having falsely alleged, during the course of the campaign, that Maguire, while in private practice, was involved “in a sordid case of corporate fraud that involved payment of bribes in Russia,” that he was “part of Arnold’s legal team that made decisions including commuting the sentence of convicted murderer Esteban Nunez,” and that Maguire was “quoted defending the Protocol Foundation—used to hide $1.7 million in Arnold’s Travel Expenses.”
The attorney is also accused of having falsely claimed to have been endorsed by a local police department and misrepresented himself as an incumbent by using lawn signs reading “Law Enforcement’s Choice Clint Parish Judge Because Experience Matters.”
The allegations reprise reporting in the local media during last year’s campaign, in particular the reference to Maguire’s alleged role in the widely-blasted decision to commute the sentence of Nunez, the son of the then-Speaker of the state Assembly. The younger Nunez served less than half of a 16-year sentence for a homicide in San Diego County.
Parish was harshly criticized for making the charge. Maguire, who left for the bench more than two months before the commutation, responded that he had nothing to do with the governor’s decision and learned about it from a television newscast.
The fallout from the accusation caused the county’s sheriff and district attorney to retract their endorsements of the challenger, who did not return to the prosecutor’s office after losing the election. Parish at one point sought to walk back the criticism, saying he was not accusing Maguire of involvement in the commutation, but arguing that he should be held accountable for having been part of the governor’s “team.”
Parish could not be reached yesterday for comment on the charges. The only contact information for him on the State Bar website is the post office box address that the State Bar used to serve the disciplinary notice.
The Vanguard of Davis website, which covers Yolo politics, reported last year that Parish was on paid leave while seeking a prosecutor’s job elsewhere in the state. The site recently reported that Parish was going to work in the Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Office.
Copyright 2013, Metropolitan News Company