Judge candidates square off in court

judge candidatesWhat does “judge pro tem” mean?

That question was at the center of a legal challenge between two candidates for El Dorado County Superior Court judge. Dylan Sullivan took Joe Hoffman to court over his use of the phrase on his ballot statement. The two are running for the same seat in the June 3 election.

Placer County Superior Court Judge Charles Wachob heard the case because El Dorado County judges had recused themselves.

Ultimately Hoffman agreed to remove “judge pro tem” as one of his professions.

He told Lake Tahoe News he did so because of the hour that the case was being heard. If the proceedings continued beyond that afternoon, the county may not have been able get ballots off in time for military personnel overseas to vote. Hoffman said that is why he didn’t fight the matter further.

Hoffman says the judicial handbook of a judges’ association allows him to call himself a judge pro tem.

Dylan and her attorney disagree.

“Nobody defines judge pro tem. He has been a settlement law attorney in family law cases. That is not a judge. What he has done is all volunteer,” Jacqueline Mittlestadt, Sullivan’s attorney, told Lake Tahoe News. “But the law is clear. If you are not a judge, you can’t say you are a judge. You can be subject to fines and criminal penalties.”

— Lake Tahoe News staff report

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Comments (2)
  1. Justice says - Posted: April 10, 2014

    Hoffman, as widely reported in the Sac Bee and elsewhere, already has had an association with a convicted felon and con-man named Chartraw who, in my opinion, cost him the election last time he ran. It has been reported Hoffman has made settlements with victims who were conned and lost money in the Chartraw case. Now he looks to have created a “story” about being a “judge.” He further appears to have no known criminal law experience that makes up most of the case load for this position. He has been a family law and divorce attorney. People need to reject Hoffman, once and for all.

  2. Ted says - Posted: April 11, 2014

    I have never seen or heard of Hoffman as a judge or any thing like that. I do know that commissioner Sullivan handles very difficult and serious cases everyday and in my 50 years of practice she is a breath of fresh air. She not only handles them with skill but with compassion. Most of my client are poor, and while she does them no favors she understands their situation, with great respect. If experience and fairness matter then Sullivan has to be the choice.