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Judicial hopefuls weigh in with candidate statements

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From page A1 | March 19, 2014 |

Superior Court Judges are being elected for five different offices, although only two offices have multiple contestants. Below are the candidate statements of those running for open spots.

Running for Judge of the Superior Court, Office 1, are Vicki Ashworth, deputy district attorney; David Combellack, attorney-business owner; and Joe Weinberger, trial attorney.

Vicki Ashworth, 44, notes that “As a veteran prosecutor in El Dorado County, my commitment to you is to maintain the integrity of our courts, and safety and security for all citizens in El Dorado County. My priorities are simple: be fair and impartial in reaching just decisions while maintaining an efficient courtroom. Local judges, our district attorney, deputies and defense attorneys stand with me. They’re confident that I’ll be fair, knowledgeable and decisive, given my record as a deputy district attorney who has consistently adhered to the law and protected victims’ rights. For more than 16 years, I’ve successfully handled thousands of criminal cases including murder, gangs, sexual predators, fraud, domestic violence and elder abuse. I’ve also worked closely with many law enforcement and social-service agencies that contribute to just decisions in the courtroom.” Ashworth has her juris doctor degree from McGeorge School of Law. Endorsing her candidacy are El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson, the El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, among others.

David Combellack said he has lived in El Dorado County his entire life.

“My legal career is in private practice, handling almost every kind of case including representation of the sheriff as public administrator. As an owner of a small professional office, I understand running a small business. Volunteering for this community is my life, including service on the South Fork American River Council (past president), Board of Directors for Marshall Hospital (past president), Rotary (past president), El Dorado Community Foundation, and judge and mentor for Teen Court from inception.”

Combellack has also been president of the El Dorado County Bar Association and Judge Pro Tem, helping settle civil cases through mediation. “Committed and decisive, I will decide cases based on the facts and applicable law in accord with the Constitution,” he promises. “Each party will get a fair hearing and prompt decision. In criminal matters, public safety must be paramount.”

Also running for Superior Court Judge in Office 1 is Joseph Weinberger.

“El Dorado County deserves judges who are fair, honest and experienced,” his statement reads. “Just as important, our citizens need conservative judges who are free from the influence of special interests. As an attorney for the past 25 years, I have represented clients in civil suits, real estate, trusts, bankruptcy and family law matters. For over 15 years I’ve volunteered as a Judge Pro Tem in El Dorado, Placer and Sacramento counties. From handling multi-million dollar jury trials to arguing complex appellate cases, I understand how the court functions and how important our judicial system is to our way of life. I will bring my real-world experience as a business owner to the bench and will work to develop and implement processes that respect and conserve your hand-earned tax dollars … As an El Dorado county Superior Court Judge, I will work tirelessly to hear both sides of every case to protect our family values and fundamental rights.”

Running for Judge in Office 5 is Joseph Hoffman, business owner-attorney, who will run against Dylan Mary Sullivan, superior court commissioner.

Hoffman, 45, said his first priority as a judge “will be to keep El Dorado County a safe place to live, work and play. As Superior Court Judge Pro Tem since 2001 and a practicing attorney for 19 years, I have the experience to make tough, good decisions to fight crime and protect victims. I’m endorsed by many judges, attorneys and deputies who know that I will be fair, respect citizens’ constitutional rights, and not legislate from the bench. I will protect victims’ rights, impose strict consequences on those who break the law and make prompt decisions to ease our backlogged judicial system. As a business owner and taxpayer, I value an efficient judicial process that respects people’s time and finances, and your tax dollars.”

Hoffman received his juris doctor degree from Golden Gate University School of Law. He said he has been endorsed by the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Judges Daniel B. Proud and Douglas C. Phimister and community leaders.

Running against Hoffman is Dylan Sullivan, 48. “As your current Superior Court Commissioner, I am one of your full-time judicial officers and hear many cases with the same authority and responsibility as our judges. I am honored seven of our eight sitting judges endorse me, including our presiding and assistant presiding judges. I am running for judge because I’m dedicated to our children in crisis and I know how to protect your family’s safety. My experience as a judicial officer for over nine years taught me to make tough decisions. As a Deputy Commissioner on the California Parole Board, I made decisions regarding some of the most hardened, dangerous criminals. I understand the complexities of criminal law and the criminal mindset — essential for a new criminal judge. I proudly honor our Constitution and second amendment, apply the laws as written, never legislate from the bench and listen and respect those who come into my courtroom.”

Sullivan says she has been endorsed by judges across California, by the South Lake Tahoe Peace Officers Association, victim advocates and many others.

Incumbent Superior Court Judges who are running unopposed and who did not provide candidate statements include Suzanne Kingsbury in Office 3, Steven Bailey in Office 4 and James Wagoner in Office 6.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or dhodson@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

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