Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Diana Hall will view the courtroom from an unfamiliar perspective Jan. 23, when she appears for arraignment on charges of drunk driving, spousal abuse and brandishing a firearm.
Last Friday, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s office filed six charges against Judge Hall stemming from a Dec. 21, 2002 domestic disturbance at the home she shares with partner Deidra Dykeman.
The other three charges include using force to dissuade a witness or crime victim from making a report, destruction of a telephone and driving with a .08 percent or more blood alcohol content.
“Hall will plead guilty to the drunk driving charge, but she doesn’t think she committed those other crimes,” Hall’s lawyer William Gamble said. “The district attorney’s office has elected not to send me the police report from the incident, so I still don’t know what evidence they are basing the charges on.”
After consuming alcohol during the evening in question, police allege Hall became enraged, pulled out a loaded .38 caliber handgun and threatened to shoot one of Dykeman’s dogs.
When Dykeman attempted to call police, Hall allegedly smashed the phone on the floor and drove away.
Hall was pulled over a mile from her house by Santa Barbara Country Sheriff’s Department deputies and arrested after failing a field sobriety test. Later test results showed her blood alcohol level to be 0.18, more than twice the legal limit.
“This case has probably been getting a lot of press since there are some serious charges,” Gamble said, “but the bottom line is that this is about two roommates who got into a squabble for a short period of time. It happens to people every day.”
Gamble said a temporary restraining order was placed against Hall immediately after the incident and is effective until a Jan. 27 hearing. Dykeman has also filed a permanent restraining order to take effect on the Jan. 27 that will keep Hall 100 yards away from her and her dogs.
“It’s just not a good idea to put the two people back together right now,” Gamble said. “Things need to settle; this is an appropriate cooling- off period.”
According to the Santa Barbara County Superior Court website, Judge Hall was a district attorney for 13 years before being appointed to a superior court judgeship in 1998.
Hall is involved with the anti-drug and alcohol abuse D.A.R.E. program with the Santa Maria Police Dept. She has served as a guest speaker at local D.A.R.E. graduations for various schools that teach substance abuse resistance education.
If convicted of any felony charges, Hall will be automatically removed from the California bar and disbarred as an attorney. The gun charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days in jail.
Assistant District Attorney Christie Stanley did not wish to comment beyond faxing the Nexus a copy of the charges against Hall.