A Santa Maria Superior Court judge returned to her position Monday despite charges of battery and brandishing a weapon.
Judge Diana Hall was sentenced on Sept. 19 for driving under the influence of alcohol and having a blood alcohol level of 0.18, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. Hall faces three years probation and a revoked driver’s license for 90 days, and she must attend three alcohol counseling meetings with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Hall was also ordered to pay a $1,600 fine.
The charges resulted from an argument Hall had with her ex-lover Deidra Dykeman in their Santa Ynez home on Dec. 21, 2002. Both women admitted to drinking alcohol before the fight began over a roll of wrapping paper. Hall allegedly threatened to shoot Dykeman’s cairn terriers and prevented Dykeman from calling the police by destroying the telephone, then got in her car and drove away.
Superior Court Judge Carol Koppel-Claypool ruled Hall to be innocent of battery and brandishing a weapon. The prosecution dropped an additional felony charge for destroying a phone in order to prevent a witness from calling the police. Had Hall been convicted of a felony, she would have been removed from the bench and disbarred.
As a result of the trial, Hall is now under investigation for alleged perjury and laundering campaign finance contributions during her re-election campaign in 2002. Hall allegedly received a $20,000 contribution from Dykeman, but never reported the money on campaign finance forms because she did not want the public to know of her relationship with Dykeman. No charges have been filed yet, but the prosecution has obtained a search warrant for Hall’s personal and campaign bank accounts.