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FILED clit 15 208 STATE OF CALIFORNIA Worcrar MtSSION ony FORMAN BEFORE THE COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL PERFORMANCE INQUIRY CONCERNING FORMER | FINDINGS OF FACT AND JUDGE STEVEN C. BAILEY, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW OF THE SPECIAL MASTERS NO, 202 The Commission on Judicial Performance (the Commission) charged former El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Steven C. Bailey (Judge Bailey or Bailey) with willful misconduct in office, conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute, and improper action within the meaning of article VI, section 18 of the California Constitution. The Chief Justice of California appointed us as special masters to hear and take evidence in this matter. We conducted an evidentiary hearing on September 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11, 2018, in Sacramento, California, and submit this final report containing findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with rule 129(c) of the Rules of the Commission. Introduction The Special Masters note that the charges against Judge Bailey fall into two distinct categories. Counts 1 through 6 relate to Bailey’s conduct as a judge of the El Dorado County Superior Court. Counts 7 through 11 relate to his campaign for Attorney General of California. We are quick to observe that there is a vast difference between these two categories of charges. It is our impression that the conduct at issue in Counts 1 through 6 came to the attention of the Commission only because Judge Bailey became embroiled in an acrimonious relationship with the county's presiding judge, Judge Suzanne Kingsbury. Counts 7 through 11 have nothing to do with their feud. In considering Counts 1 through 6, we believe it is important for the Commission to understand the toxic environment that existed in the Superior Court of El Dorado County during much of Judge Bailey's tenure. ‘The relationship between Judge Bailey, a newly elected judge, and Judge Kingsbury, the county's long-time presiding judge, started off on the wrong foot and grew progressively worse over the 8 years Bailey was on the Superior Court. Judge Kingsbury obviously did not care for Judge Bailey and, at the hearing before the Special Masters, she expressly stated that she did not consider him to be a friend. That is an understatement. Judge Bailey testified his relationship with Judge Kingsbury began to sour in about 2012, when he declined to help her convince another judge to retire rather than run for reelection. Around the same time, Bailey, who had only been a judge for a few years, began openly discussing with his colleagues his desire to elect a new presiding judge. Bailey approached one of the more senior judges and asked for his vote to unseat Judge Kingsbury When that judge indicated he would support Kingsbury, Bailey enlisted a local attorney to run against him in a contested election. Bailey's involvement in that election eventually led to the conduct alleged in Count 1 Judge Kingsbury testified her relationship with Judge Bailey deteriorated in about 2014. Before then, she would talk with him about performance or ethical issues that came to her attention. She stopped doing that, however, when it became clear to her that Judge Bailey was not listening to her and would not accept her advice. We also infer that Judge Kingsbury took Bailey's efforts to have her replaced as presiding judge personally. She nicknamed Judge Bailey “Skippy,” because she thought he was never where he was supposed to be, and then she used this derogatory nickname in communications with court employees. Judge Kingsbury also enlisted court employees to keep tabs on Judge Bailey, because she apparently thought it was appropriate to have court staff conduct surveillance on a fellow judge. The Special Masters believe that no judge should ever enlist court employees to spy on a colleague and report their findings either to the judge or to the Commission. This is the antithesis of judicial collegiality. Judge Bailey had the right to expect that court employees would be loyal assistants to all members of the Superior Court bench. ‘The Commission received numerous emails from court employees regarding Judge Bailey. We question whether these complaints would have been made without the efforts of Judge Kingsbury. No employee in the court system should be put in this position. Judge Kingsbury and the court employees also appear to have been something other than just reporters of information. They seem to have taken on the role of investigative staff for the Commission. At one point, Judge Kingsbury even expressed to staff that the Commission investigation of Judge Bailey was taking too long. She became an advocate for the Commission to charge Judge Bailey with misconduct. She should not have done so. (See In re Marriage of Calcaterra & Badakhsh (2005) 182 Cal.App.4th 28, 38.) At the hearing before the Special Masters, the examiner argued Judge Kingsbury’s conduct was irrelevant. We do not agree. The motivation