A Tuolumne County prosecutor is accused of misconduct over claims he made during a heated race last summer for a seat on the Yolo County Superior Court bench.
California State Bar attorneys filed “disciplinary charges” against attorney Clint Parish on Tuesday in the State Bar Court in San Francisco, saying Parish used false and deceptive campaign materials to embellish his support and tar his rival, Judge Dan Maguire.
A State Bar spokeswoman said Parish could, if found guilty, face disciplinary actions up to disbarment.
Parish joined the Tuolumne County DA’s Office last fall as a deputy district attorney.
He formerly worked as a deputy prosecutor for the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.
Yolo County representatives declined to comment beyond confirming he’d worked for the county for a decade and left on Nov. 16, 2012.
State Bar records show Parish, a graduate of University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law, was licensed to practice in California in 2000. He has no prior disciplinary record.
State Bar attorneys said Parish in May 2012 falsely accused Maguire of being involved in a “sordid case of corporate fraud that involved payments of bribes in Russia” while in private practice in Denver.
Maguire couldn’t be reached for comment, but has told other newspapers in the past that he left that lawfirm long before the controversy mentioned.
Parish also falsely attacked Maguire’s record as it related to his service as a deputy legal affairs secretary for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, before his 2010 appointment to the Yolo bench.
In campaign materials, Parish claimed Maguire helped craft the governor’s 2011 decision to reduce the manslaughter sentence of Estaban Nunez, the son of Schwarzenegger ally and former Democratic Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. Maguire has pointed out he was already serving as a judge when that decision was made.
About the same time he unleashed his campaign broadsides, Parish also posted on his campaign Website a false claim that he’d been endorsed by the City of Winters Police Department, according to the State Bar filing.
State Bar rules forbid attorneys from lying about their own qualifications or a political opponent’s, according to the filing.
The Yolo County DA’s Office and County Counsel declined to comment on Parish’s service or the nature of his departure. Online records, however, show he received a “Individual Leadership Award” in 2006 for creating a liaison program with local law enforcement agencies.
Tuolumne County District Attorney Mike Knowles said Parish will continue on in his duties.
He said his office was aware of the controversy surrounding the election, and was notified by Parish himself.
Knowles said Parish is already doing a respectable job for the office and stood by his decision to hire him.
Knowles was reluctant to say much else, noting it is a personnel issue.
Parish did not return calls seeking comment.
Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties