El Dorado Superior Court Judge Daniel B. Proud has decided to join the endorsement list of judicial candidate Joseph Hoffman during the runoff between Hoffman and incumbent Judge Warren “Curt” Stracener.
“When the race started, I spoke with Stracener, Valentine and Joe,” Proud said. He decided he would not be endorsing any candidate in the primary, and sitting judges “tend to stay out when an incumbent is running.” Although he didn’t know Stracener very well, Proud said that he “deserved the opportunity to prove himself.”
But, during the campaign, “a couple other judges got involved. I just felt the community needs to know how other judicial officers feel about … the prospects,” Proud said.
This came about over concerns about Stracener’s campaign, specifically the controversies over the Supreme Court appearance, the amount of experience Stracener had and Stracener’s claim of never having been reversed.
Echoing what Judge Douglas C. Phimister said in an interview with the Mountain Democrat, Proud wanted to “set the record clear — judges are going to get reversed, it’s not a bad thing. It’s going to happen.” He said he knew about the Palma Letter that had been sent to Stracener, and that it was clearly a reversal.
This, combined with Stracener’s appearance in the Supreme Court — which Proud concedes he “technically did” by appearing on paper though Proud said it was handled by another law firm — called the campaign a “calculated misrepresentation.” Proud said that Stracener “knows the statements are inaccurate, but the public doesn’t.”
This, to Proud, is not what being a judge is about. A judge “needs to be above reproach,” Proud said, and needs to be “of the highest moral character.” Instead, Stracener is “casting aspersions on the judicial and bench officers.” Stracener is “challenging the credibility of judicial officers, it flows over to (other judges). If one does it, the public thinks we all do it.”
Proud again echoed other complaints against Stracener in that Stracener dips into lunch breaks and holds court later than he should, in what Proud called a “disregard for attorneys, court staff and litigants. They have personal obligations, but if the judge asks if they can stay a little late, they are not going to tell him no.” Proud mentioned that it would also cause childcare issues for those held late. Further, it would result in excess overtime for an already cash-strapped court system.
Proud did, however, want it clear that he had sat in on Stracener’s courtroom and had observed “nothing outrageous,” but his endorsement of Hoffman still stands.
“The population of El Dorado County need to be aware that either Stracecner is intentionally saying these things … or doesn’t understand, which is just as concerning,” Proud said. “I’m very uncomfortable with this, I don’t like coming out against a sitting judge.”
As a result, Proud was led to endorse Stracener’s opponent, Hoffman. “I’ve known Joe for years,” Proud said, and had faith that he is the better candidate for the job.
Contact Cole Mayer at 530-344-5068 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @CMayerMtDemo.