Saturday, May 8, 2010

Judge DeAnn Salcido Blames Other Judge for Decisions Leading to Murders by Released Predator

Judge Slams Other Judge Over Chelsea King, Amber DuBois Deaths
Judge DeAnn Salcido Says She 'Can No Longer Remain Silent'

May 7, 2010—

A San Diego judge accused her fellow judges today of mishandling criminal cases and said the murders of Chelsea King and Amber DuBois might have been prevented if their killer had been kept in prison for a prior sex offense.

Superior Court Judge DeAnn M. Salcido, during a news conference today, put particular blame on supervising judge Peter Deddeh who approved the sentence of convicted sex offender John Gardner, who has since pleaded guilty to raping and killing the two young women. She provided ABC News with a copy of her prepared comments.

Deddeh "put two young girls on a deadly collision course with a convicted child molester," Salcido said of the tragedies she believes might have been prevented by a tougher sentence.

In 2001, Deddeh signed off on a plea deal that gave Gardner a six year prison sentence for molesting and beating a 13-year-old neighbor he lured to his house. He was released after five years despite a probation report that called Gardner a predator and risk to society.

While on parole, he committed several crimes, including marijuana possession, and violated his parole by opening a MySpace account and living too close to a school. Those offenses could have sent him back to prison.

Shortly after his release, Gardner raped and killed King, 17, and DuBois, 14. He has confessed to both murders and is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

Salcido announced today that she is taking the unprecedented step of asking a California appellate court to force San Diego judges to "follow the law" and stop harassing her for trying to do so.

She accused Deddeh and other colleagues of rubber-stamping too lenient plea deals and failing to impose mandatory probation conditions such as protective orders, firearm prohibitions, and anger management counseling that are designed to protect public safety.

"This pattern of behavior by Judge Deddeh and others shows a reckless disregard for human life," Salcido said.

"I can no longer remain silent," the judge said in a press conference.

Salcido said that from her first days on the bench, she was told by seasoned judges to "go along to get along" and quickly dispose of sex abuse and domestic violence cases by accepting hurried plea deals and ignoring mandatory probation conditions for violent offenders.

"Chevy Justice" Versus "Cadillac Justice"

When she complained to Deddeh, he told her to just "dispense of 'Chevy justice' and let the other courtrooms dispense of 'Cadillac justice,'" she alleged in court filings. Deddeh explained that they need to get through numerous trials with limited resources and save money and time for "more important" cases, Salcido said.

But Salcido said that even with misdemeanor domestic violence cases, "everyone is entitled to the same justice or it is not justice. The administration cannot tolerate such distinctions."

In an email Salcido included in her legal papers, Deddeh allegedly wrote: "As we discussed the other day, our goal in D-3 is to expeditiously move defendants through the calendar and resolve their cases with the fewest # of court hearings possible&.we need to do what we can to limit the # of times our staff has to touch a file." Salcido told ABC News that although her actions today might cost her her job, "public safety is the issue, not my career."

"I hope to increase judicial awareness and prevent judges from recklessly disregarding the laws as they have been," Salcido told ABC News.

Deddeh was not immediately available for comment.

Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures


  1. Good for Judge Salcido! It's about time the truth of the system is addressed by someone from the bench who is brave enough to risk it all for the injustices being committed.

    Now, maybe, others will see the light and follow suit. Thanks so much for this news!

  2. Thank you Judge Salcido for taking a stand and not giving in to the system!! You did the right thing, those other judges nedd to remember, it could be their loved one attacked or killed by someone they let off easy. Judge Salcido you have to live with yourself at the end of the day, kudos to you!!!!

    I AM IN TEARS OVER THIS...tears of joy and hope and faith. Thank you so much for posting this!

  4. Thank you for your kind words of support. Judge Salcido

  5. I have tried very hard to calm down after reading the outlandish statements
    made by Deann Salcido regarding improprieties in the San Diego court system.
    For this woman to denounce anyone is the height of hypocrisy. In 2003, she
    refused to listen to me and my child and placed my child in the custody of a
    child molester. The total disregard with which she treated us and others in
    her courtroom was a reflection of the accusations she has levied against
    others of her profession. The upcoming elections make it clear to me that
    her announcement today is nothing more than false grandstanding and a grab
    at free publicity. Deann Salcido has abused her powers in the court system
    and now that her bid for continued power is faltering in this election, she
    blames others for the state of our courts.

    Deann Salcido's attempt to distance herself from the stigma of the
    atrocities committed by her peers does not in any way diminish her
    culpability in the wrongs she committed. Has she apologized to even a single
    person that she has harmed? Has she tried to make amends to any of the
    children who continue to suffer because of her decisions? I am lucky that my
    child did not die as Katie Tagle's did because of Judge Lemkau but my child
    was placed in danger because of Salcido. The public should not be mislead
    about this woman. She is no better than those she criticizes.

  6. I am sorry if your child was placed in danger based on a decision by Judge Salcido. I know nothing of your case and hope you had people advocating on your child’s behalf such as a guardian ad litem, child protective services and law enforcement. Impartial Judges make decisions based on what is presented to them within the context of law and court rules. If those charged with investigating such things presented a valid case regarding the danger your child was in and they were ignored then I hope you appealed and prevailed.

    Biased Judges make decisions outside of those parameters based on ego, inappropriate reciprocity,adherence to an "old boys" network, burn out and laziness. The practices addressed by Judge Salcido’s lawsuit resulted in the deaths of young girls. I commend her for her stand. It is a concern nationwide, and her outrage is legitimate and long overdue.

    Every person who puts themselves out there, such as Judge Salcido has, is subject to scrutiny and every decision, both personal and professional, will come back to haunt them in one way or another. Yes, during election years, motives are questioned and every thing lying dormant is revived and embellished. As ugly as it can become, this is how change occurs. As an advocate working for systems change, she has my full support on this issue and I commend her for her bravery.

  7. Support DeAnn Salcido Facebook Page:

  8. A brave lady. In school we learned that the three branches of govt. were suppposed to police each other. Instead they cover-up for each other and all work to the detriment of the general populace.

  9. Why do these stories only appear just prior to an election?

    Coincidence? I don't think so.

    Justice has become about saving money - not lives.

  10. anonymous,

    This judge doesn't know what she is talking about... she has no real criminal trial time.... she is just grand standing for alot of reasons... she is running for re-election, she is trying to get a TV show, she is also under investigation on her performance as a judge and she has no respect for anyone in her court... staff,attorneys,public or defendants... she is all about her and will do anything to dis-respect everyone.

  11. I highly commend this judge. Everything that she has spoken about is no surprise to anyone. So why is she being criticized. Everyone knows about the "old boys" net work and their treatment of women and children through their court decisions and conduct. They think that they are above the law and the only ones who do not have to follow the law. They break laws and then cover up for each other. This is criminal and Dispicable. THIS JUDGE SHOULD BE SUPPORTED AS SHE HAS STOOD UP FOR A JUST CAUSE. SHE HAS TRIED TO FIGHT PRACTICES WHICH SHOULD HAVE NO PLACE IN A CIVILIZED NATION.

  12. Maybe it is time to work together to fix the problem.

    Protect the future ahead, don't live in the past and don't just shout across the table.

    Act on it so that things get done. Talk the talk and walk the walk. It's about time to realise that finance is important to make justice work.

  13. It's a difficult thing to judge anyone, everyday citizens and public officials, especially one who now gets to be voted in after being appointed initially. Public lives need to be scrutinized as they reflect many the same behaviors as private lives. Yet how well behaved and honorable is the judge herself? Is she accountable, sensible, and honest with all her associates whom she has lead to believe she cares about and treats judiciously fair? I and many know as she knows, she does not. It is truly criminal to allow molesters and offenders of all types to get away with any crime, no matter how officially concealed it may be. She lives with herself somehow, and by herself holding court on others in contempt when she is anything but upright and impartial doling out her personal sentences on those who stand up to her for themselves.

  14. I hope the day will come when more like Judge DeAnn Salcido are prepared to speak out.

    This is a global issue. The impact of domestic violence and sexual abuse spreads beyond the primary victim and the court system enables the continuation of these abuses. Lives are being lost because of poor decisions made by the courts.

  15. I commend Judge DeAnn Salcido. She doesn't follow the beat of another drum. She stands for what she believes in and is not afraid to speak her mind no matter who feelings get hurt. She is a strict, no nonsence type of judge and there should be more judges like her. Men and women alike. Thank you to judge DeAnn Salcido.

  16. I will no longer be accepting comments on this particular story unless they are focused on this blog's central theme of ethics and justice for survivors. Suddenly I am receiving a large number of particularly nasty comments attacking Judge Salcido both personally and politically. I suspect many originate from the Christian Right campaign that is active right now:
    My interest lies in the original issue of seeking justice for survivors, not scathing political attacks and agendas that muddy the waters.

  17. Kudos to Judge DeAnn Salcido. She doesn't approve of the rocket docket approach that most judges practice. I for one beleive that our judicial system in California is due for an overhaul with judges that aren't affraid to make a decision on behalf of the people. Just go to UD court and watch judges toss people out of their homes regardless if the foreclosure was unlawful or the lender violated mortgage laws. A judge simply ask, "did you promise to pay?"..yes your honor.."did you pay?" your honor.."move out." Doesn't matter that the trustee or the lender didn't follow California civil codes in the process of the foreclosure or that the loan was a preditory loan. Banks in California are all too accustom of trhowing families out on the streets with the help of the judicial system and have no incentive to modify a loan.


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