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Lincoln Club takes back endorsement in judge's race: Group then backs Amador, opponent of El Cajon lawyer Miller

Union Tribune (2012-10-12) Greg Moran

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The Lincoln Club of San Diego has rescinded an endorsement it made for San Diego Superior Court judge, after allegations that the lawyer was posting on Facebook about cases in which he was serving as a volunteer judge.

The unusual move is a blow to candidate Jim Miller, an El Cajon lawyer running against veteran Deputy District Attorney Robert Amador. After taking back its endorsement of Miller, the Lincoln Club then endorsed Amador for the seat.

An article in East County Magazine in May reported that Miller had been removed as a volunteer judge. The story referenced several postings Miller made on Facebook about cases he had handled. Judges are expected not to comment or discuss cases that they preside over.

Larry Stirling, a former judge and Lincoln Club member who headed a committee that interviewed all judicial candidates in the spring, said he only saw the East County article recently.

Stirling said it was “the smoking gun” and led to the withdrawal of the endorsement, although the issue was perceived dissimulation regarding Miller's removal as a volunteer judge -- not the Facebook posts.

“We had a disciplinary problem with our candidate,” Stirling said. “More importantly we had a candor problem because he was denying it was true.”

Stirling said Miller did not disclose that the court had removed him from being a volunteer judge before the endorsement, then denied he had been when questioned later.

Miller, who has gained backing from Tea Party groups as well as the local Republican Party endorsement, said Thursday he did not hide anything from the club and said he would seek a meeting with club leaders to present his side.

He said he was not told by the court that he was no longer a volunteer judge until April — several weeks after the Lincoln Club endorsement interviews.

The club endorsed Miller on March 13. Stirling said that candidates were asked to fill out a questionnaire that among other questions asked if they had ever “suffered any sanctions whatsoever in any shape form or manner in regards to your professional conduct.”

He said Miller said he had not. A few weeks after the endorsement Stirling said he was told “by a friend on the bench” that Miller had been removed as a volunteer judge.

Stirling said he confirmed with a court spokeswoman that was true, but said Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta and El Cajon Supervising Judge Eddie Sturgeon didn’t respond to his requests for the reasons behind the dismissal.

He said he asked Miller in an email on April 2 about being removed and said Miler denied he had been.

Neither Miller nor Stirling have been told by the court why he was removed, despite their inquiries. The court also did not reveal the reasons when asked by UT-San Diego, saying it was a personnel matter.

Amador said he welcomed the club’s support.


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Title Lincoln Club takes back endorsement in judge's race: Group then backs Amador, opponent of El Cajon lawyer Miller
Publisher Union Tribune
Author Greg Moran
Pub Date 2012-10-12
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Note Jim Miller
Keywords Local Politics
Media Type Linked Article
Media Group News
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Topic revision: r1 - 19 Oct 2012, RaymondLutz
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