KCOY/KKFX anchor Paula Lopez, wife of ex-Superior Court judge Frank Ochoa, arrested for DUI and assault on a peace officer charges

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By Scott Steepleton. City Editor Santa Barbara News-Press. September 8th, 2015. For the second time in as many years, a well known Santa Barbara TV personality and wife of a retired Superior Court Judge faces legal trouble over an alcohol-related arrest.

CLICK HERE for the full piece as published.

Note: in Part One of our 2014 series “Death On The American Riviera,” the tragic story of the death of 27 year-old Mallory Rae Dies, killed in a manslaughter hit-and-run by Raymond Victor Morua III, then an aide to Congresswoman Lois Capps, we reported that Mr. Morua had been photographed within the year with Ms. Lopez and her husband, retired Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Frank Ochoa, who, during his career on the bench, had sentenced many alleged drunk drivers who had come before him. 

In Scott Steepleton’s story he quotes Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley as saying, “Whatever charges we can prove with admissible evidence to the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt we will file.”

Regarding Ms. Lopez who was convicted of public intoxication in 2013, she said, “We always consider someone’s prior criminal history in deciding what we would consider to be a just penalty.”

In a KEYT/KCOY simulcast Monday night, anchor C.J. Ward handled the story (in second position) as a 45 second “read,”without any other independent reporting, noting that management at KCOY and KKFX, the two stations where Ms. Lopez is the evening anchor, had no comment.

In August of 2013, The Santa Barbara Independent reported that Sheriff’s Deputies had responded to Ms. Lopez’s home four times in five months and in two of the incidents she was reported missing. Further, on July 29th, 2013 she was arrested for public intoxication.

In that piece by Tyler Hayden, the Indy quoted Ms. Lopez as saying,  “I have been in professional medical treatment for the disease of alcoholism for a number of months. I have dealt with anxiety and depression for many years. Excessive self-medication is a fairly recent phenomenon for me. It has increased over time. I have had substantial periods of abstinence and sobriety. As can occur in the recovery process, I have also had failures and relapses.”

That same piece quoted D.A. Dudley as saying that “Lopez is eligible for the DA’s Misdemeanor Diversion Program, meaning that if she pays $250 and finishes the program, her public intoxication charge will be dropped. Dudley explained in a phone interview that Lopez’s lack of criminal history helped her qualify for the program.”


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