Judge in the SLO County redistricting lawsuit disqualified himself

January 27, 2022


San Luis Obispo Superiors Court Judge Hernaldo Baltodano disqualified himself on Tuesday from hearing a lawsuit challenging SLO County’s redistricting map.

Erica Baltodano, the judge’s wife, represents SLO County Supervisor Dawn Ortiz-Legg on the Civil Service Commission. Erica Baltodano is also the chair of the board of the SLO Legal Assistance Foundation, while redistricting lawsuit plaintiff Patricia Gomez is a member of that board.

SLO County Citizens for Good Government and three SLO County residents, registered Democrats, filed a lawsuit on Jan. 12 challenging the county’s selection of the Patten map, arguing it benefits the Republican Party at the expense of Democrats.

Last week, the plaintiffs filed for a temporary restraining order against the supervisors’ adoption of the Patten map. The plaintiffs are asking the court to insert a “status quo” map until their lawsuit winds its way through the court system.

During the redistricting process, the plaintiffs and the two Democrat supervisors battled to retain a map adopted in 2011. The three Republican supervisors disagreed, arguing the status quo map was drawn to benefit Democrats.

Before recusing himself, Judge Baltodano set the temporary restraining order hearing for Feb. 10. The court has now assigned Judge Rita Federman to hear the case.

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As he should have. It wouldn’t be right to hear this garbage with his wife having close ties to those filing the stupid lawsuit.

This is a diverse county with active politcal factions, therefore any map may be unpleasant to someone because of political differences. Personally I did not appreciate the rate of speed this map was approved but during COVID constraints much of government is not fare. The outcome of this map will serve some better than others as was the case with the current map, Cal Poly voters having an affect on rural voters. We servived that and we will survive this. There are much greater legal issues that will require stamina and good health to resolve, not a vote.

Full credit to Velie on this. Her reporting forced the judge to do the right thing!

So very true. The nascent morality and ethics of the politicos in this county only eek out when CalCoastNews holds feet to fire—assuming those politicos have morals and ethics. We know too many who have none, also thanks to CalCoastNews. And yes, at the top of that list is one dead supervisor and the other one who told him what to do and fell romantically for his subordinates, among so many other indiscretions.

Thanks again to CCN for bringing this to light, otherwise the judge shopping by SLO County Citizens for Good Government would have gone as planned.

Brazen judge shopping!

Too bad SCOTUS Clarence Thomas doesn’t use the same recusal paradigm when hearing cases where his wife consults for the plaintiffs. SCOTUS judges don’t have the same kind of ethical requirements that lower court judges do, but you’d think he wouldn’t want to be so obvious.

What does an alleged SCOTUS issue have to do with the self recusal of a local judge on a local matter? Nothing…other then an appeal to emotion and an attempt to stir the political pot!