San Diego Judicial Candidate Omits Law Enforcement Ties On Jury Questionnaire
New questions have surfaced about the candor of a San Diego Superior Court judicial candidate.
In July, candidate Ken Gosselin filled out a questionnaire for jury duty for an upcoming gang trial. He was asked whether he had had a positive or negative experience with law enforcement and if so, would it make him biased. Gosselin answered no.
Gosselin also never disclosed on the jury questionnaire that he was running for judge. Gosselin’s incomplete answers concerned the trial’s deputy public defender Debby Kirkwood.
“When he was questioned by the court about law enforcement, he should have said, `Hey, yes, I have positive experiences with law enforcement. In fact, I’m being endorsed for judge by ... the Oceanside Police Department, by the San Diego Sheriff’s Association,” Kirkwood said. “He’s also basically running on a law and order statement here. I don’t think that he would feel comfortable finding someone charged with a gang allegation not guilty.”
The judge in the case, William Gentry, said he was also struck by Gosselin’s omissions.
“Given that he is an officer of the court, a licensed attorney, I’m troubled that he did not, in understanding the jury selection process and the importance of detecting implied and actual bias, disclose this information,” Gentry said.
Gosselin did not respond to requests for comment. Retired Judge Allan Preckel, who has endorsed Gosselin’s opponent Brad Weinreb, said Gosselin is unfit for the bench.
“A judge has to have integrity. Without that, the system fails,” Preckel said. “His conduct in his campaign on repeated occasions in various ways just demonstrates to me that he is lacking the integrity that we rightly expect and should demand of all of our judges.”
Another issue for Gosselin: his campaign signs appear to portray him as an incumbent judge because of the way his name appears underneath the word "judge."
Gosselin’s characterizations of himself and background have given his opponent fodder in their election battle.
Earlier this year, a judge ordered Gosselin to change his ballot statement after his opponent complained he had misrepresented his education, his legal specialty and his experience. In an email declining comment when those allegations surfaced, Gosselin wrote, "These types of misunderstandings are common in judicial elections and please remember that there is always two sides to every story.”