Judge Gary Kreep Fighting To Stay On Bench
San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep, best known as a key proponent of "birther" conspiracy theories, is fighting to keep his seat on the bench, against a challenge from Deputy District Attorney Matt Brower.
Kreep finished first in the elections on June 5 with about 30 percent of the vote — an unusually poor result for an incumbent in what is typically a low-profile race, and far short of the majority needed to avoid a November runoff. Brower finished in second with 26 percent.
Brower, who also works as a judge advocate in the Marine Corps, said he would be a fair and impartial judge.
"I'm running on a platform of removing bias from the courtroom and treating all people professionally, and with dignity and respect," he said.
Kreep, who declined an interview request, has been a highly controversial figure, initially due to his pre-election lawsuits challenging former President Barack Obama's citizenship. Obama was born in Hawaii, but Kreep has continued to question Obama's birthplace in more recent media interviews.
Then last year Kreep was also given a "severe public reprimand" from the state's Commission on Judicial Performance. That is the highest punishment from the body short of removal from the bench. The commission found Kreep guilty of 29 counts of misconduct, including campaign law violations and inappropriate remarks from the bench such as comments on the attractiveness of attorneys in his courtroom.
One of the misconduct charges stemmed from his remarking to a woman charged with prostitution, "Is it you like the money? Or you just like the action?" Kreep defended that comment in an interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board, saying he was trying to convince the woman to abandon sex work.
"So yes, I did say those things, and I admitted it and I explained it, but that didn't make any difference because it was deemed inappropriate," he said.
The San Diego County Bar Association rated Brower as "qualified," and found Kreep was "lacking qualifications."