In her welcome speech at the new Santa Clara County DA’s jam-packed investiture Thursday night, Presiding Judge Catherine Gallagher poked fun at the recent constitutional blunder — the first misstep of Dolores Carr’s term.
By then, the audience knew that Judge Kevin Murphy’s better-paying job prospects as Carr’s chief assistant were squashed by a provision in the state constitution forbidding judges from taking public employment during their judicial terms.
“I want legal scholars out there to know that Judge Kevin Murphy and I spent a considerable amount of time searching the remote areas of the state constitution,” she said. “We came to the joint opinion that my behavior here tonight will not run afoul of its provisions.”
Using legal lingo to make light of an awkward situation among a crowd of attorneys? The joke was a hit.
Carr herself joked about hoping the fire marshal wouldn’t come in and clear out the auditorium at the San Jose Athletic Club, where attendees were packed in like sardines. That, she said, would get her in the newspaper “three days in a row.”
Good thing the new DA has a sense of humor, something her predecessor wasn't known for.
The verdict is still out on whether Carr will choose her chief assistant from inside the office. But grumblings from within say there’s nothing wrong with choosing someone already working at the DA’s office.
“Our office would probably run well with people from inside the office,” Deputy DA Peter Waite said earlier this week. “I don’t perceive that there’s a problem with the way the office works.”
— Millie Lapidario