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Enormity of Wagstaffe/Scott conflict of interest

Original post made by Ethics 101, another community, on Jun 10, 2014

One thing that has been glossed over in the blogs here regarding the arrest and pending decision to charge Judge Joseph Scott with DUI is that the San Mateo district attorney, Stephen Wagstaffe, has a staggering conflict of interest in deciding whether or not to bring criminal charges against Judge Scott, and because of this Stephen Wagstaffe should recuse himself and his office and ask the California Attorney General to make this decision.

If Mr. Scott were charged, undoubtedly a judge would be brought in from outside San Mateo County to officiate the trial. The ethical conflict of a San Mateo County judge officiating over Judge Scott's trial pales in comparison to the ethical conflict the San Mateo district attorney has in this circumstance.

For example, as one poster pointed out in the other thread, Wagstaffe might have a proclivity not to charge Scott in order to curry favor with a judge who routinely presides over criminal trials that impacts Wagstaffe's conviction rate.

An opposite example would be one in which Judge Scott were charged, but exonerated by a jury. He might then harbor natural animosity toward the San Mateo County district attorney for charging him, and this might impact the people's ability to have justice served in his courtroom.

These are just two examples that make the ethical conflict obvious.

The correct ethical decision is for Mr. Wagstaffe to recuse himself. There is really no gray area here, ethically speaking. Why this hasn't happened yet is very puzzling.

Comments (9)

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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

Holly L. is a registered user.

Good points. But except for the Daily Post , which has pointed out that the arrest of Scott took place more than two weeks ago, the rest of the press has been curiously silent about why the DA never alerted the press at all, and why he has stonewalled on the details. Once the Daily Post broke the story, the press dutifully reported on the Scott arrest, but didn't include the backstory which, to my mind, is just as important- the stonewalling and secrecy by the DA's office on this case.

There has been a small band of citizens who have been trying to get the press to pay attention to the conflicts of interest and unethical behavior by the DA's office and the judges, etc. on other cases for some time. Now it's up to the press to raise the issues you correctly bring up. Where is the outrage among the editorial boards at papers? They don't seem to realize that the silence and stonewalling on the Scott cases not typical behavior for a DA (see Broward County, Florida and the case of the three judges and their DUI cases.)

So far, Dave Price from the Palo Alto Daily Post is the only editor to have taken Scott to task on this matter. There needs to be more editorials like that from other papers.

And as to the conflict of interest issue, well, the DA's office was in charge of the Dr. Ayres case, despite the fact that they themselves hired Ayres for years. I personally doubt the AG would have lifted a finger to get the San Mateo DA's office to recuse itself, even if citizens had protested. But if there had been editorials denouncing the conflict of interest, she might have.

It's going to take many, many more outraged citizens to get something done about the corruption and conflict of interest. The press has to do its job and inform people about what is really going on.


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Posted by re-post
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:20 pm

the same posters repeating the same stuff over and over

please, re-post all your same insinuations and questions again here!!!!


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Holly L. is a registered user.

Re-post: What "insinuations?" Please elaborate.


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Posted by re-post
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 10, 2014 at 2:04 pm

from just one thread, but go ahead and re=post all the same stuff again

"So why is it that the DA's office released information about this Hispanic man's DUI to the press just FIVE days after the incident"

"the DA trumpeting information for citizens who are not influential or not wealthy and are often minorities"

"Seems like a discriminatory act"

"Seems like if you're poor and Hispanic, you're out of luck"

"There are NUMEROUS instances of the San Mateo DA's office releasing information by crimes by minorities, but not when they're committed by police officers or the rich and powerful and white."


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Posted by re-post
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 10, 2014 at 2:08 pm

in the meantime, there's another school shooting today

"Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been an average of 1.37 school shootings for each school week...

Including Tuesday's incident at a high school in Troutdale, Oregon, 74 school shootings have taken place in the approximately 18 months since the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown shooting. The average school year typically lasts about 180 days, which means there have been roughly 270 school days, or 54 weeks, of class since the shooting at Newtown. With 74 total incidents over that period, the nation is averaging well over a shooting per school week."

dozens of posts on your topic de jour, repeating the same stuff over and over with you, julietoo and ms

while schools get shot up every week


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Posted by Holly L.
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Jun 10, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Holly L. is a registered user.

This is a thread about San Mateo County and the Judge Scott DUI case. Attempting to change the subject won't work.


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Posted by Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 10, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Wondering what Geoff Carr's reaction was to Scott's arrest. Carr is the primo, go-to attorney for San Mateo citizens who've been arrested for DUI's .


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Posted by re-post
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jun 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

not trying to change the subject

just pointing out the excessive posts by a couple folks in several threads, bordering on obsessive

you wanted to know about insinuations and then you ignored the list

"Re-post: What "insinuations?" Please elaborate."

"So why is it that the DA's office released information about this Hispanic man's DUI to the press just FIVE days after the incident"

"the DA trumpeting information for citizens who are not influential or not wealthy and are often minorities"

"Seems like a discriminatory act"

"Seems like if you're poor and Hispanic, you're out of luck"

"There are NUMEROUS instances of the San Mateo DA's office releasing information by crimes by minorities, but not when they're committed by police officers or the rich and powerful and white."


call attention to it - thats good, fine

allow the news to come out, allow the trial - thats good, fine

beat a dead horse over and over, asking the snide questions over and over, insinuations?

just an opinion, but thats where you lose a LOT of folks

one sees it over and over in these posts, just look at the last election posts, over and over, until it was just the libertarians talking among themselves

and we all learned how the libertarian movement looked this week - all the bundy type supporters against so called government corruption and over reach turned out in vegas


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Posted by Michael G. Stogner
a resident of another community
on Jun 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Michael G. Stogner is a registered user.

Time for Leadership from the Supervisors of San Mateo County.

They recently became aware of a DDA telling a victim/whistleblower that the DA'S office didn't have the funds to investigate that type of crime. SamTrans former accountant Ling La. A false statement.

Now they have a DDA, responding to a reporter, " How did you hear about that?" 14 days after the arrest.

One of the elements of a Conflict of Interest is the Appearance of a Conflict, You want to avoid even the appearance.

Supervisors this has the appearance, get Steve Wagstaffe to recuse himself NOW.


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