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In your interview of Gary Ahlers, candidate for Magistrate Judge, published Sunday April 25, Mr. Ahlers is quoted as saying that I, George Chandler, “tried to use these records he found online to ruin my reputation” during the 2006 election campaign. He then goes on to suggest it is ridiculous to bring up something that happened 15 years ago.
Well, this time he brought it up, not I. I did not try to ruin Mr. Ahlers’ reputation in 2006, nor do I intend so today. The contrary is true: I gave him an opportunity to salvage his reputation; he blew it. When I discovered in 2006 the New Jersey charges and the subsequent expungement, I had a private meeting with Mr. Ahlers, to tell him what I knew and so to give him an opportunity to divulge the New Jersey charges publicly without any disclosure by me. Mr. Ahlers then chose to mischaracterize the expungement of his record as “exoneration,” and I challenged him on the misrepresentation of that process in a phone call and a letter to the Monitor. My target was not his reputation but a threat to the integrity of the Magistrate Court. At least this time around he has abandoned exoneration in favor of expungement.
However, I see from your article that instead of owning up to the events, or just ignoring them, Mr. Ahlers is carefully using the passive voice — the gun “turned up missing” from his police department and “was later located at his father-in-law’s Santa Fe home” — as if the gun had an errant wave function that just wandered through the universe looking for an embarrassing place to materialize and Mr. Ahlers was an innocent bystander. Wow, great judge material.
I would add that in the substance of the interview Mr. Ahlers seems to have committed himself to various courses of action regarding issues likely to come before him as a judge. That kind of mindless campaign rhetoric is fine for candidates for other offices, such as legislator and governor, but judges are prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct from making “pledges, promises or commitments” with respect to “issues that are likely to come before the court.” See Rule 21-700(B)(4). He could be disqualified by those statements from hearing those types of cases if he became a judge. See Rule 21-400(A)(6).