MARTINEZ — A candidate for Contra Costa County district attorney removed a video testimonial from his campaign Web site Tuesday after learning that including an endorsement by his wife, a county Superior Court judge, violated judicial ethical standards.
Dan O'Malley, a former county judge and prosecutor who now is in private law practice, called the video an oversight that resulted from his rush to launch his campaign Web site last week. In it, his wife, Contra Costa County Presiding Judge Mary Ann O'Malley proudly praises him.
"I got to take responsibility because it's my Web site," Dan O'Malley said Tuesday. "I'm beside myself because the whole point was to provide some personal information and show we are a nice family who does nice things for people, not to use the prestige of (judicial) office to get elected."
Dan O'Malley is running for district attorney in the June 2010 election. Deputy district attorney Mark Peterson and Danville attorney Elle Falahat have also announced their intentions to run. District Attorney Robert Kochly has not announced whether he is seeking re-election.
The video was part of a montage that included current and retired leaders touting Dan O'Malley's ethics. Mary Ann O'Malley's title as Contra Costa County's presiding judge was shown, Dan O'Malley said, even though she spoke as a candidate's wife and specifically told the videographer not to include the title.
Judge O'Malley did not return
The California Code of Judicial Ethics states that judges cannot "publicly endorse or publicly oppose candidates or a candidate for nonjudicial office."
A state judicial commission official said sanctions for ethical violations range from written warnings and private admonishment to removal from the bench. The commission does not confirm when it receives complaints, said Victoria Henley, chief counsel and director of the California Commission on Judicial Performance.
Dan O'Malley said he and his wife were contacting a judicial ethics committee Tuesday to explore what association she can have with the campaign.
"Can I put a sign in the front lawn?" Dan O'Malley asked. "That's the dilemma. If it's wrong to endorse your husband, incidental to being a judge, then she won't endorse me."