San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep is facing potential removal from the bench, after a state commission says he spent years making racist, sexist, staggeringly crude comments in court. Kreep was a conservative activist before he was a judge, and the Commission on Judicial Performance also says he signed a fundraising letter implying President Obama wasn’t born in the United States. Look: this all sounds bad. But on the other hand, the man’s name sounds exactly like “creep,” and you cannot say he didn’t warn you.
When he was running for judge, the Southern Poverty Law Center called Kreep a “hate group leader” and an anti-government activist. That part is up for debate, but he certainly was fixated on President Obama’s birthplace. Along with well-known birther attorney Orly Taitz, Kreep argued to a federal appeals court in 2011 that a 2009 lawsuit challenging the president’s birth certificate should be reinstated. Taitz and Kreep argued that the president’s birth certificate was fake (Taitz called it “very inventive computer art”), that maybe Obama held dual citizenship, and that he’d used multiple Social Security numbers.
According to the AP, Kreep added:
“We have a man who, whether it’s true or not, arguably is not a citizen or at least a naturally born citizen of the United States and is not eligible to serve,“ Kreep said. “The only recourse for the people is the courts.”
“Whether it’s true or not” is a weirdly loose standard to apply to an argument you’re making in court, but all right! Kreep was elected to the bench in June 2012 and promptly began making, uh, waves: the San Diego Tribune lays out a list of some of the things he’s accused of saying and doing, according to the Commission on Judicial Performance:
- Jokingly referring to a city attorney as a sex worker: “[W]hile Kreep was discussing a prostitution case with a city lawyer, Deputy City Attorney Karolyn Westfall entered the courtroom. ‘Speaking of prostitution, here’s Ms. Westfall,’ he said.”
- Asking a defendant in a prostitution case if there was anything he could do “to get you out of the life,” adding, “Is it you like the money? Or you just like the action?”
- Asking the same woman if she planned to get a job at the Bunny Ranch in Nevada, while she was discussing her future plans.
And the Washington Post has more, including, you’ll be surprised to learn, some allegedly racist comments: references to “Chinese prostitutes” in court, in front of a Taiwanese-American lawyer (he added, placatingly, “No offense to Chinese people.”) And here’s how he talked to people he thought spoke Spanish:
Documents say Kreep also made references to the ethnicity of various defendants and attorneys. He often used Spanish phrases and sentences — such as “momento por favor,” and “no cerveza, no tequila, no alcohol, nada, until your case is over” — to addresses defendants and attorneys.
During another 2013 hearing, Kreep commented on a deputy prosecutor’s accent and asked if she was a Mexican citizen.
“I am a U.S. citizen and proud of it,” the deputy prosecutor told Kreep.
“I wasn’t planning on having you deported,” Kreep told her.
The commission also accuses Kreep of not resigning his positions in the Justice Political Action Committee and as chairman of the Republican Majority Campaign before running for judge, which is Not OK, and using his personal credit card to pay for $41,000 in campaign expenditures, which you’re also not supposed to do.
A group of 16 attorneys filed a complaint in 2013 about Kreep’s various behaviors and activities, and it’s only taken three years for them to be addressed. Kreep has a hearing set for February; he faces sanctions or removal from the bench if the allegations are substantiated.
You can read the full 17-page notice of formal proceedings for Kreep here, which lays out all of the complaints. Stay tuned for this special story the judge told in court, for some reason:
In approximately mid-2013, you told court staff and attorneys in open court about your experience assisting a personal friend who had a disability and had asked you to be her caregiver. You stated that your tasks as a caregiver - 8 - required you to shower with your friend and sleep in the same bed, but that you did not have sex with your friend.
Great to know.