Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Diamond Demands That Opponent Harper Remove His Name From List of Her Endorsers On Campaign Website; Offer of Support Predated His Entering Same Race That She’s In
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Criminal defense lawyer David D. Diamond, a candidate for Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 162, has demanded that one of his two opponents in the race, civil rights attorney Caree Annette Harper, remove his name from her list of endorsers appearing on her campaign website.
As of press time yesterday, she had not obliged.
Surfacing on the page containing Harper’s endorsements is this:
“Judicial Candidate & one of Ms. Harper’s opponents, David Diamond (in writing on 10/31/19 & 12/10/19 to SEIU).”
“SEIU” stands for Service Employees International Union.
Harper became a candidate for Office No. 162 on Nov. 15, and on Nov. 26, Diamond entered the race for that office.
In a Nov. 27 statement to the METNEWS, Harper said: “David Diamond endorsed me in writing on October 31, 2019 and offered to ‘help in anyway I can’.”
Harper classifies Diamond’s favorable remark about her on Dec. 10 to the SEIU board—before which they were vying for support—as an endorsement of her; he says it was merely a compliment to an opponent, out of courtesy.
Diamond on Sunday told this newspaper:
“Before I decided to run for Judge in 2020, Ms. Harper had asked me if I would support her endeavors as a candidate. I replied ‘yes’ to supporting her. Once I announced my candidacy and learned that she has been incarcerated for contempt, altered a transcript in court, and acted questionable toward several clients as it related toward their financial dealings, I could not support or endorse her candidacy.”
Harper was held in civil contempt by U.S. District Court Judge Otis Wright II of the Central District of California when she failed to answer questions to his satisfaction concerning her dealings with a mentally ill woman she represented in an action over a beating by a California Highway Patrol officer. Wright expressed the impression that Harper “exploited” the client by taking a 40 percent share (Harper says it wasn’t that much) of a quick $1.5 million settlement, while having done barely any work.
The METNEWS has not verified the allegation that Harper altered a transcript.
Demand to Harper
In his demand to Harper on Sunday, Diamond said:
“It is my understanding that your campaign website lists David Diamond as one of your endorsements. Please remove my name immediately.
“I do not endorse your candidacy. I direct you to Rule 8.2 which states:
“ ‘A lawyer shall not make a statement of fact that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge or judicial officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial office.”
The rule is contained in the Rules of Professional Conduct. That rule incorporates by reference Canon 5 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, which governs candidates’ activities in judicial elections.
Diamond pointed to Canon 5(b)(3) which provides, with exceptions that do not apply:
“Every candidate for judicial office shall complete a judicial campaign ethics course approved by the Supreme Court no earlier than one year before or no later than 60 days after the filing of a declaration of intention by the candidate, the formation of a campaign committee, or the receipt of any campaign contribution, whichever is earliest.”
The lawyer lectured his adversary:
“I would suggest completion of this program.”
(Diamond acknowledged in response to a reporter’s inquiry that he doesn’t actually know that Harper has not completed the course, but said: “One would hope if she had, she would not be violating the rules so blatantly.”)
Removing Judge’s Name
Diamond continued, in his email to Harper:
“If, for some bizarre reason, you believe I endorsed you, then much like the Judge that removed his/her endorsement, then you may consider this the same.”
A judge withdrew an endorsement when Harper changed her ballot designation from “Attorney at Law” to “Attorney/Community Educator.” The Registrar-Recorder’s Office rejected the words “Community Educator,” as not comporting with the legal requirements under the Election Code and Code of Regulations, and Harper chose her current designation, “Attorney/Radio Producer.”
Diamond advised Harper:
“….I do not and will not endorse you. Thank you for adhering to this directive.”
Harper responded yesterday to a request for comment by forwarding a screenshot of her Oct. 31 Facebook message, saying, “Hey David! Happy Halloween, have decided to run for judge…,” followed by his assurance: “I will help anyway I can.”
She responded further to the request with an email in which she said:
“Additionally, the second endorsement came on December 10th in front of the SEIU members and our fellow candidate [Deputy District Attorney. Scott Yang]. Mr. Diamond said I would make a ‘fine judge’.”
The candidate questioned whether Diamond was “dishonest to the entire SEIU board, or he is just a dishonest man who would stop at no untruth to get into a position of trust.”
Harper did not comment on Diamond’s accusation that she had altered a transcript, or other allegations contained in his email to her on Sunday, explaining:
“I have neither the time nor desire to dignify wild and unsubstantiated rumors when voters deserve to hear about my qualities and tireless work in the community.”
She proceeded to tell of that work.
Profiles on the candidates for Office No. 162 begin on Page 8 of today’s issue. Harper’s recitation of her background appears at the end of the profile of her, at Page 10.
Commenting on Harper’s response, Diamond said:
“Nowhere in her long winded and rambling response does she ever actually attempt to answer the question. It’s my understanding she has had similar issues with endorsement committees even becoming argumentative when faced with the question as to why she wouldn’t respond directly to what she’s being asked.
“In terms of the SEIU interview, I may have complimented both my opponents which I think is a respectful thing to do. But even if we assume for a moment that Ms. Harper is being truthful, my words were not an endorsement by any means and it shows what a dangerous bench officer she would become judging by her confusion as to what defines an endorsement.
“It’s my understanding she has still refused to amend her website. I should also note for the record that my early and initial offer to help her in the process was based on my limited interaction with her in which she appeared to be a decent person. As I already stated, once I was able to learn about her behavior as a lawyer I had no intent nor have I ever helped her with her campaign and in fact I am saddened that there are lawyers like her that practice the law with such an unmistakable lack of adherence for the rule of ethics.”
Copyright 2020, Metropolitan News Company