SANTA ANA — A Superior Court judge is asking the State Bar to investigate whether a prosecutor running for election to the Municipal Court bench has used "false or grossly misleading" campaign literature.
Prosecutor Caryl Lee, who handles family support cases in the Orange County district attorney's office, said she was aware of the letter sent by Judge Luis A. Cardenas to the State Bar of California, but denied misleading voters.
"This is just another one of the tactics by the good ol' boys to keep me quiet," said Lee, who forced Westminster Municipal Judge Dan C. Dutcher into a November runoff. "The truth is an absolute defense."
Lee's campaign has complained that her opponent is not tough enough on defendants and her campaign literature cited a vehicular manslaughter case handled by Dutcher as an example.
Cardenas, who oversees all felony criminal matters in the Municipal Court in Westminster, lists four points in his Sept. 7 letter on which Lee may have misled voters.
"The (campaign) documents state that Judge Dutcher sentenced the defendant to 'one year in jail.' In fact, Judge Dutcher imposed a two-year term in the state prison," Cardenas said in one point.
Cardenas and Dutcher could not be reached for comment late Thursday.
Dutcher also filed a lawsuit against Lee and her campaign earlier this year, alleging he was libeled by the campaign literature.