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Judicial Candidate Accuses Judge Of Being A Criminal On Billboards

Federal prosecutor Carla Keehn, hoping to unseat Judge Lisa Schall in the Jun...

Credit: Jeff Powers

Above: Federal prosecutor Carla Keehn, hoping to unseat Judge Lisa Schall in the June primary election, put four billboards around San Diego accusing her opponent of being a criminal, May 8, 2014.

In the upcoming San Diego June primary election, federal prosecutor Carla Keehn is hoping to unseat Judge Lisa Schall, who has spent three decades on the Superior Court bench.

A normally little-noticed race for San Diego Superior Court judge has turned nasty. A challenger has placed four billboards around the county, calling the incumbent a criminal.

Keehn, a former U.S. Army captain, has put a stark message on billboards above four intersections along Interstate 5 and downtown: “Vote for Carla Keehn ... the only candidate for this office not convicted of a crime.”

According to court records, Schall was charged in October 2007 with a DUI, but pleaded guilty to a lesser reckless-driving charge six months later.

"And this is something that was delayed right before the last election," Keehn said, "and the first time it came out was a year after the last election, and nobody filed against her because nobody even knew that this case existed."

The charge was Schall’s third admonishment by the state Commission on Judicial Performance. In 1995, she was reprimanded in a juvenile dependency case, and in 1999, she was publicly admonished for her abuse of the contempt power.

"Niney-nine percent of judges are never admonished during the course of their careers," Keehn said.

Keehn said the billboard speaks for itself.

“I believe the public has a right to have judges that uphold the law and not break the law,” Keehn said. “I think that’s a very important fact for any public official.”

Calls by KPBS to Schall were not returned.

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