CJP Accuses Judge of Anti-Semitic Slur, Other Misconduct
Jurist, Facing Election Challenge, Could Be Turned Out of Office Before Hearing Could Be Held
By a MetNews Staff Writer
GREGORY J. KREIS
Humboldt Superior Court judge
The state’s judicial disciplinary body announced yesterday that formal proceedings have been instituted against a Humboldt Superior Court judge whose conduct, as alleged in a notice, included referring repeatedly to a deputy public defender as a “Jewboy,” lying under oath, and lewd conduct while intoxicated.
Judge Gregory J. Kreis’s answer is due Feb. 22.
Kreis, appointed to his post in 2017 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown, is challenged in the March 5 primary by a former deputy public defender, April Van Dyke. Should he be defeated, the Commission on Judicial Performance (“CJP”) could still proceed, as it has in the past where allegations have been made concerning former judges.
The notice of formal proceedings, personally served on Kreis last Friday, says that the judge on May 25, 2019, participated at an outdoor event organized by the wife of the county’s then-assistant public defender; that before boarding a pontoon, he inhaled from a vaporizer device containing cannabis oil; and once on board, consumed alcohol and appeared to be intoxicated. The CJP notice advises that “on multiple occasions” during the boat ride (at Lake Shasta), he called then-Deputy Public Defender Rory Kalin a “Jewboy,” saying:
“You also told DPD Kalin that he looked Jewish, called him ‘Jewboy’ to his face, in front of his wife, and laughed or smiled each time you made the remark. In addition, and in DPD Kalin’s presence, you said to Stefanie Kalin, ‘I don’t even know why you’re married to this Jewboy,’ or words to that effect.”
Pushed in Water
The notice alleges that Kreis pushed Kalin in the water though he was not clad in swimming attire. He was, himself, shirtless and, the notice says, he donned some article of clothing resembling the top half of a bikini, to mock Stefanie Kalin who was wearing a yellow bikini.
“On the pontoon boat, you were aware that DPD Kalin was not dressed in swim apparel, but was wearing a long sleeve shirt, full length pants, and shoes. While DPD Kalin was at the stern of the boat, you ran up to DPD Kalin and shoved him into the water. Afterwards, you did not assist or attempt to assist DPD Kalin out of the water and back onto the boat.
“While you were aboard a ski boat at the event, you were shirtless in view of others, including children, and wore for an extended period of time what resembled, or was intended to resemble, the top half of a woman’s two-piece yellow bikini. Your attire also gave the appearance that you were taunting or mocking Stefanie Kalin, who wore a yellow bikini top at the event.
The CJP document recites to Kreis that he came up to assistant public defender’s wife and “moved your body and moaned or made other noises that suggested you were having sex with” her.
While Kalin was absent during a barbecue that evening, it’s charged, he asked Kalin’s wife, “Where’s your girlfriend?” referring to her husband.
It says he used the term “Jewboy” on at least one occasion in 2016.
The notice quotes a 2020 declaration in support of a disqualification motion:
“The judge has been accused by a lawyer in a complaint of assaulting the lawyer and calling him a ‘Jew boy’.”
The lawsuit was filed by Kalin on March 6, 2020. The Lost Coast Outpost in Humboldt County reported on Dec. 13 that, according to Kreis, the litigation was settled.
Nineteen counts are contained in the 33-page notice. They include becoming intoxicated at a party at a home and going into the bedroom of the hostess, while she was asleep, exposing himself.
They also include making false assertions of fact under oath in answers to statements of disqualification in two cases, instances of failing to disclose a close relationship with attorneys in various cases, failing to disqualify himself though obligated to do so, lying to the presiding judge that he was not having an affair with a court employee, providing legal advice to a friend while a judge, making inappropriate comments in court, and drinking while driving.
The notice points to a Sept. 30, 2019 Court of Appeal opinion in which it is held that Kreis had violated the due process rights of a father in a custody case.
In a custody case in which attorney Edward Alexander Schrock appeared for a party, the notice says, Kreis engaged in this conduct:
“You lost your temper and made a ruling - requiring all visits to be supervised - out of pique, without hearing arguments, and based on an unsigned letter ostensibly from the minors therapist. You raised your voice during the above exchanges, while Mr. Schrock remained calm and respectful. You abused your authority when you threatened to report Mr. Schrock to the State Bar without a valid basis for doing so. Your reference to an allegation made against you in a motion to disqualify you reflected embroilment and, at a minimum, made it appear that you were retaliating against the father. Many of your statements also reflected prejudgment.”
Van Dyke commented yesterday:
“The complaint from the Commission on Judicial Performance speaks for itself and I think we can all agree Humboldt deserves better. Thankfully, the voters have a choice on March 5.”
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