Bringing Lady Justice back to Orange County
In ancient poetry, a surviving image of justice was described “holding level the balance.” Later named Iustitia, the image of Lady Justice has maintained through the age, appearing in courtrooms, palaces, and government centers worldwide. A physical allegory for the law, the lady is none to be reckoned with: her double edged sword as formidable as any.
And yet, what is perhaps most striking about this ages old symbol is her blindfold. Any fool can muscle a scale to balance, if he is tilted himself - but the Lady holds the recipe for sea change in her blinded gaze: a ruthless integrity of purpose - to mete justice without the sway of fear or favor.
For Senior Deputy District Attorney Karen Schatzle, that ruthless integrity of purpose is what she seeks to bring to the Superior Court in Orange County. Prior to obtaining work in prosecution, Karen worked full time for the Orange County Probation Department. As a Deputy Probation Officer, she handled a myriad of tasks, ranging from investigating both juvenile and adult offences, supervising violent crimes offenders, and preparing guidelines for the Superior Court’s sentencing procedures. A force on the streets as well, Karen was post certified and trained to carry a weapon. Part of a coalition enforced with unifying efforts to reduce gang violence, she worked hand in hand with social services, law enforcement, probation officers and prosecutors: honing her awareness of the social issues taking shape in the streets of her city, and driving her decision to apply for law school. Clearly no stranger to hard work and dedication, Karen took the initiation to motherhood one step further than most, passing the BAR exam on her first attempt, while pregnant with her third child.
During her longstanding tenure as a prosecutor, Karen dedicated the majority of her attentions towards violent crimes - trying over 86 cases, many of which resulted in multiple life sentences. Though one might guess at the fact, Schatzle notes that “she has never been, or am now, dissuaded by a difficult challenge.” But what is the cost of such dedication? Surely, this is why Lady Justice is blindfolded. To remain separate from her decisions - if not to spare herself the torture of seeing chaos enacted daily in the streets of so many cities in Orange County. But to Schatzle, there is no worth without the struggle for true integrity: which, for her, “is not an external appearance but an inward reality that refers to singleness of heart and mind, the development of a blameless character by adhering to an exemplary moral code.”
And her opponent? “It is a determination to maintain judicial independence that moved me to challenge Scott”, Karen notes, “I voluntarily supported him during the last election - yet it is opposed to my moral character to do so now.” Recently censured for multiple reasons, including having sex with his law students in the court’s chambers, Steiner is an incumbent, and former colleague of Schatzle’s. “My career in law enforcement began almost 30 years ago - I have dedicated most of my career to prosecuting child molesters, sex offenders, and career criminals. My integrity, and the integrity of the court is an asset that voters should be unwilling to sacrifice.” Will the scales tip in her favor with the vote for the Superior Court seat coming up on June 7? Perhaps they should: after all, I think Lady Justice would agree with Teddy Roosevelt when he noted that “nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty” - or Robert Brault: “what happens if I do nothing?”
For more information, visit www.schatzleforocjudge.com