Social media erupted this Friday over the prospect of tarnished Judge Scott Steiner’s anticipated re-election campaign.
Judge Steiner is the son of former OC Board of Supervisors Chairman and OCGOP shotcaller Bill Steiner. The judge ran aground on the Canons of Judicial Ethics for bedding down two women in his judicial chambers as well as some other ethical infractions. He was publicly censured by the Council of Judicial Performance, but not removed for his conduct, to the surprise and dismay of many in the OC legal community.
Apparently anticipating fallout from his misdeeds, Steiner has launched a re-election campaign early, to deter any potential challengers. Some observers think this may be a strategic blunder, alerting potential candidates that Steiner is in a panic. Word is several sitting judges are refusing Steiner’s endorsement request.
Several well-heeled criminal defense lawyers decided to throw a fundraiser to start the ball rolling in Steiner’s favor. All was well until the invite was posted on Facebook.
That’s when all hell broke loose… with Deputy DA Janice Chieffo leading the charge, castigating those lawyers who were listed on Steiner’s sponsor list. She penned her disgust for several top OC defense lawyers, including John Barnett, Jeffrey Kent, Virginia Landry, and others. According to several court clerks and attorneys, things rapidly spun out of control, with lawyers trading personal insults and even challenging each other to fistfights. The most rambunctious posts have been removed from the North Orange County Bar Association’s Facebook page, but many other posts were on DDA Chieffo’s personal FB blog.
Judicial elections are considered to be boring, unglamorous, backwater affairs. Judge Steiner’s re-election bid may change that, and push his election front and center if he is contested.
But keep this on the QT!