Panel concludes San Diego Judge Gary Kreep violated judicial ethics rules

San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep violated judicial ethics rules when he made remarks to lawyers and litigants about their appearance and ethnicity in his first years on the bench, a special panel of judges concluded in a report released Friday.


In the 90-page report, a three-judge panel appointed by the state Commission on Judicial Performance said Kreep committed willful misconduct, prejudicial misconduct and improper actions.

But the panel disagreed with commission lawyers who had brought ethics charges against the one-time conservative legal activist that his comments to some women amounted to sexual harassment.

They also credited him with changing his behavior after complaints from some lawyers in the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and warnings from top administrators on the Superior Court bench.

Yet the panel also rejected Kreep’s contention in his formal written response to the charges that the complaints against him were the product of a harassment and intimidation campaign because of his right-leaning political history.

Kreep was elected to the bench in 2012 in an upset win. He had built a lengthy legal career in part by taking on conservative legal causes, including filing “birther” lawsuits challenging President Barack Obama’s legitimacy by erroneously contending he was not born a U.S. citizen.

Although Kreep’s lawyer did not press the harassment argument in the eight-day hearing on the charges in February, the panel wrote there was little…

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