On May 7, San Diego County Superior Court judge DeAnn Salcido held a press conference in front of the Hall of Justice and alleged widespread violation of the law by the superior court judges of San Diego County.
Before the press conference, several protesters passed out blue flyers and held signs criticizing the judges for giving custody of children to abusers. At around 9:00 a.m., the press showed up and set up their equipment. Then Salcido arrived, flanked by Robin Yeamans (her attorney) and Dr. Robert Geffner, president of the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT).
As Salcido began to speak, the protesters, the press, and others crowded in to hear what she had to say. Salcido said she was filing a writ in the court of appeals to force the San Diego superior courts to obey the law. She alleged that Peter Deddeh, the supervising judge of the East County branch of the superior court, systematically instructed other judges to break the law and did not impose the mandatory requirements for domestic-violence offenders. Salcido said that Deddeh’s lax attitude toward violent offenders and disregard for the law jeopardized public safety, and when she tried to follow the law she was harassed and retaliated against by Deddeh, who allegedly told her to administer only “Chevy justice” to domestic-violence victims and to save the “Cadillac justice” for more important cases.
Salcido said she could no longer keep silent after the murder of Chelsea King, when she found out that it was Deddeh who allowed John Gardner to plea bargain to only six years in prison for the violent rape of a child, ultimately resulting in Gardner’s release and the murder of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois.
Geffner and Yeamans each spoke briefly, and Salcido answered a few questions. One person asked Salcido if she was coming forward now because she was being challenged in the upcoming election. Salcido answered that she had been trying for years to get the courts to comply with the law.