Contra Costa District Attorney candidate Mark Peterson responded today to an earlier post on this blog about the dispute between him and his opponent, Dan O’Malley, over the use of “judge” as a title.
Peterson has filed a lawsuit asking the courts to bar O’Malley’s use of the title. O’Malley was a judge for almost six years before he resigned his position, and maintains that he is eligible to call himself judge or retired judge because he qualifies for a limited retirement and could serve in the retired judges’ pool. ”
Peterson disagrees and says his opponent is illegally implying that he is an incumbent of an office that he does not hold. Here is a portion of what Peterson had to say about the case:
I take issue with Dan O’Malley’s assertion, printed in your Monday posting, that my petition for an injunction is nothing but a tactic designed solely to take up his time and money. That is not true. The request for an injunction has come about because of Dan’s repeated refusal to follow the law.
Because of Dan’s poor showing at the polls in June, rather than simply continue to describe himself as an attorney, he evidently decided that he should portray himself as a judge, or as a retired judge, for some perceived electoral advantage.
Unfortunately for Dan, he is neither a judge, nor a retired judge. Additionally, Election Code section 18350(a) prohibits a candidate from implying, by statements or conduct, that he’s the incumbent of a public office, when that’s not the case.
Ever since Dan’s primary defeat, he repeatedly has plastered his official campaign websites with the false and deceptive title, “Judge Dan O’Malley.” Signs were printed up that read, “Elect JUDGE Dan O’Malley for District Attorney,” also in clear violation of section 18350.
Because of those actions, I sent Dan a letter on September 4th, asking him to stop his deceptive and illegal conduct. (Copy attached). I asked him to just follow the law, so each of us could avoid legal action and the attendant costs and distractions. Dan made some cosmetic changes to his websites, but he continues to display dozens of webpages, identifying himself as “Judge Dan O’Malley,” and he sends correspondence listing himself as “Judge Dan O’Malley.”
Furthermore, on some of the other pages of his website, even after receiving my letter, Dan deliberately chooses to list himself as “JUDGE DAN O’MALLEY (ret.).” Dan’s attempt to portray himself as a “JUDGE” with his intentionally minimized disclaimer of “(ret.),” is a fairly transparent attempt to deceive the voters and to skirt the law. After over two weeks of continued violations, it was clear there was to be no voluntary compliance with the law, therefore, I took legal action.
Even during the week that has transpired since I had to take legal action, Dan continues to display multiple webpages, where he continues to identify himself as “Judge Dan O’Malley,” with no disclaimer whatsoever on those particular webpages. Dan also employs his eVoter profile to imply that he’s a sitting judge, with a picture of himself in judicial robes, with no mention whatsoever of his current profession, and with no suggestion that he’s a former judge, not a sitting one.