Yolo County Judge Race Gets Down and Dirty

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I have not covered much on the race election race for judge. It is interesting to see signs and election brochures in a judge’s race. Most judges think of themselves not as politicians but as a member of the bench. Frankly that’s a good thing for the most part.

But from the start, the race for judge in Yolo County has been different. This is more like a political race than a battle of two judges.

In the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday morning, Deputy District Attorney James Walker actually started taking shots at Judge Fall.

“Walker claims that for years, Fall has been known as a judge who humiliates lawyers, jurors and witnesses in his courtroom and abuses his judicial authority.

“He has a history of berating attorneys for not being prepared or on time,” Walker said.

Most lawyers won’t criticize a judge openly because they fear retaliation, Walker said.

“But if people told the truth, they would tell you what a terrible judge he is,” the prosecutor contended.”

James Walker continues:

“Walker said he set his sights on Fall’s seat after the judge ruled against him in a murder trial, leading to a manslaughter conviction and a lighter sentence for a West Sacramento shotgun killer.

“That’s when I decided I was going to run against him,” Walker said.”

James Walker argues that it is the fact that Judge Fall hands down “light sentences” that has him seeking his spot on the bench.

Judge Fall has for the most part tried to avoid the mudslingling and has run on his record for the most part.

“Fall, meanwhile, said he’s appalled at Walker’s mudslinging and is unwilling to trade insults because of his judicial office.

Instead, Fall said, he has tried to run on his record.”

He did respond to Mr. Walker’s charges of leniency in the murder trial:

“As for the ruling against Walker in the murder case, Fall said he threw out the confession of the young defendant because it had serious problems, as an appellate court had noted in a previous ruling.

“If Mr. Walker disagreed with me, he could have taken me up on appeal,” Fall said. “He didn’t. The fact that he let my ruling stand without challenging it says a lot about who was right and who was wrong in that case.”

The race for Judge has been surprisingly interesting. Both men are Republicans. However, Tim fall seems to be more moderate than James Walker. Walker is a product of the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office and a career prosecutor. Tim Fall went to King Hall at UC Davis for law school while James Walker went to McGeorge law.

It is also interesting to see Judge Fall in pictures with fellow Judge Dave Rosenberg. You just do not see Judge’s in campaign brochures very often. This race bares watching as it heads into the final days.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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52 thoughts on “Yolo County Judge Race Gets Down and Dirty”

  1. campaign watcher

    I have trouble voting for someone who brags about his conviction rate on his campaign brochures for Judge. A good conviction rate may seem ideal for a job in the DA’s Office, but this is a judgeship. You’d think that a focus on being fair and balanced and having a keen understanding of the Law would be the emphasis. It also appears that Walker has mis-characterized Judge Fall’s actions in response to the ruling from the Appeals Court. Walker doesn’t say what he would do if he were judge in the same instance, but implies that he would have ignored the ruling from the Appeals Court.

    I hope this doesn’t become a Woodland/Davis rivalry issue with Woodland merely voting against the Davis resident. I haven’t seen any lawn signs for Walker in Davis, but many in Woodland.

  2. campaign watcher

    I have trouble voting for someone who brags about his conviction rate on his campaign brochures for Judge. A good conviction rate may seem ideal for a job in the DA’s Office, but this is a judgeship. You’d think that a focus on being fair and balanced and having a keen understanding of the Law would be the emphasis. It also appears that Walker has mis-characterized Judge Fall’s actions in response to the ruling from the Appeals Court. Walker doesn’t say what he would do if he were judge in the same instance, but implies that he would have ignored the ruling from the Appeals Court.

    I hope this doesn’t become a Woodland/Davis rivalry issue with Woodland merely voting against the Davis resident. I haven’t seen any lawn signs for Walker in Davis, but many in Woodland.

  3. campaign watcher

    I have trouble voting for someone who brags about his conviction rate on his campaign brochures for Judge. A good conviction rate may seem ideal for a job in the DA’s Office, but this is a judgeship. You’d think that a focus on being fair and balanced and having a keen understanding of the Law would be the emphasis. It also appears that Walker has mis-characterized Judge Fall’s actions in response to the ruling from the Appeals Court. Walker doesn’t say what he would do if he were judge in the same instance, but implies that he would have ignored the ruling from the Appeals Court.

    I hope this doesn’t become a Woodland/Davis rivalry issue with Woodland merely voting against the Davis resident. I haven’t seen any lawn signs for Walker in Davis, but many in Woodland.

  4. campaign watcher

    I have trouble voting for someone who brags about his conviction rate on his campaign brochures for Judge. A good conviction rate may seem ideal for a job in the DA’s Office, but this is a judgeship. You’d think that a focus on being fair and balanced and having a keen understanding of the Law would be the emphasis. It also appears that Walker has mis-characterized Judge Fall’s actions in response to the ruling from the Appeals Court. Walker doesn’t say what he would do if he were judge in the same instance, but implies that he would have ignored the ruling from the Appeals Court.

    I hope this doesn’t become a Woodland/Davis rivalry issue with Woodland merely voting against the Davis resident. I haven’t seen any lawn signs for Walker in Davis, but many in Woodland.

  5. 無名 - wu ming

    remember too that judge fall was the judge in the conway ranch eminent domain case. a lot of yolo conservatives got pretty bent out of shape over that.

  6. 無名 - wu ming

    remember too that judge fall was the judge in the conway ranch eminent domain case. a lot of yolo conservatives got pretty bent out of shape over that.

  7. 無名 - wu ming

    remember too that judge fall was the judge in the conway ranch eminent domain case. a lot of yolo conservatives got pretty bent out of shape over that.

  8. 無名 - wu ming

    remember too that judge fall was the judge in the conway ranch eminent domain case. a lot of yolo conservatives got pretty bent out of shape over that.

  9. Sac transplant to Yolo

    It seems like the Yolo County court and DA system just need a complete overhaul. I heard friends in the past say that Yolo was the worst but I never knew what that meant until the last two years.

    Looks like I have to read up more on both candidates to see who would be the better of the two.

    Thanks for covering this.

  10. Sac transplant to Yolo

    It seems like the Yolo County court and DA system just need a complete overhaul. I heard friends in the past say that Yolo was the worst but I never knew what that meant until the last two years.

    Looks like I have to read up more on both candidates to see who would be the better of the two.

    Thanks for covering this.

  11. Sac transplant to Yolo

    It seems like the Yolo County court and DA system just need a complete overhaul. I heard friends in the past say that Yolo was the worst but I never knew what that meant until the last two years.

    Looks like I have to read up more on both candidates to see who would be the better of the two.

    Thanks for covering this.

  12. Sac transplant to Yolo

    It seems like the Yolo County court and DA system just need a complete overhaul. I heard friends in the past say that Yolo was the worst but I never knew what that meant until the last two years.

    Looks like I have to read up more on both candidates to see who would be the better of the two.

    Thanks for covering this.

  13. Rich Rifkin

    “remember too that judge fall was the judge in the conway ranch eminent domain case. a lot of yolo conservatives got pretty bent out of shape over that.”

    No one who opposed that ridiculous waste of taxpayers money — $2.4 million to the outside attorneys for Yolo County, plus all of the expenses of inside personnel — had a problem with Judge Fall. Ultimately, the reason the county dropped its unwise eminent domain action was because of the decision of the court on how to value Conaway’s water rights.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    “remember too that judge fall was the judge in the conway ranch eminent domain case. a lot of yolo conservatives got pretty bent out of shape over that.”

    No one who opposed that ridiculous waste of taxpayers money — $2.4 million to the outside attorneys for Yolo County, plus all of the expenses of inside personnel — had a problem with Judge Fall. Ultimately, the reason the county dropped its unwise eminent domain action was because of the decision of the court on how to value Conaway’s water rights.

  15. Rich Rifkin

    “remember too that judge fall was the judge in the conway ranch eminent domain case. a lot of yolo conservatives got pretty bent out of shape over that.”

    No one who opposed that ridiculous waste of taxpayers money — $2.4 million to the outside attorneys for Yolo County, plus all of the expenses of inside personnel — had a problem with Judge Fall. Ultimately, the reason the county dropped its unwise eminent domain action was because of the decision of the court on how to value Conaway’s water rights.

  16. Rich Rifkin

    “remember too that judge fall was the judge in the conway ranch eminent domain case. a lot of yolo conservatives got pretty bent out of shape over that.”

    No one who opposed that ridiculous waste of taxpayers money — $2.4 million to the outside attorneys for Yolo County, plus all of the expenses of inside personnel — had a problem with Judge Fall. Ultimately, the reason the county dropped its unwise eminent domain action was because of the decision of the court on how to value Conaway’s water rights.

  17. Anonymous

    Yolo County needs judges who can stand up against some of the “practices” of the DA’s office. The County already has one judge who sleeps in the same bed as a senior member of the DA’s team. More independence is needed, not less. The Justice System in Yolo County is already one of the weakest in the state and it seems to me that Walker would make it worse.

  18. Anonymous

    Yolo County needs judges who can stand up against some of the “practices” of the DA’s office. The County already has one judge who sleeps in the same bed as a senior member of the DA’s team. More independence is needed, not less. The Justice System in Yolo County is already one of the weakest in the state and it seems to me that Walker would make it worse.

  19. Anonymous

    Yolo County needs judges who can stand up against some of the “practices” of the DA’s office. The County already has one judge who sleeps in the same bed as a senior member of the DA’s team. More independence is needed, not less. The Justice System in Yolo County is already one of the weakest in the state and it seems to me that Walker would make it worse.

  20. Anonymous

    Yolo County needs judges who can stand up against some of the “practices” of the DA’s office. The County already has one judge who sleeps in the same bed as a senior member of the DA’s team. More independence is needed, not less. The Justice System in Yolo County is already one of the weakest in the state and it seems to me that Walker would make it worse.

  21. Well, aint that a fact?

    Walker won’t serve truth and justice well. If his campaign is about personal attacks on a sitting judge, he does not deserve to be in office.

  22. Well, aint that a fact?

    Walker won’t serve truth and justice well. If his campaign is about personal attacks on a sitting judge, he does not deserve to be in office.

  23. Well, aint that a fact?

    Walker won’t serve truth and justice well. If his campaign is about personal attacks on a sitting judge, he does not deserve to be in office.

  24. Well, aint that a fact?

    Walker won’t serve truth and justice well. If his campaign is about personal attacks on a sitting judge, he does not deserve to be in office.

  25. Anonymous

    I am a Woodland resident and I’ve already voted (absentee ballot) for Judge Fall in the upcoming election. Last year I spent 7 months in long term mediation with my ex-husband for child custody/visitation and my case eventually ending up in trial. Before going to trial my first 5 months were spent in Dept. 11 with a Judge who was brought back from retirement to help fill a void in that department. Each time I was in court the decision and explanations that were given were always different from the time before. It was like playing roulette I never knew what was going to happen next because the judge was so inconsistent. Eventually my case was moved to Dept. 2 for trial with Judge Fall (thank God!). I was told by several people outside the court system that Judge Fall can be harsh and that he demands respect in is court room, but that he is extremely fair in his decisions. I was grateful just to be seen by a judge who would make a fair and unbiased decision in the end. I had 3 encounters with Judge Fall. The first time I was in court I saw how he scanned the court and would speak up if someone was talking while clients were at the table. Fall would stop proceedings and address the person(s) who were interrupting, but he did it in a respectful manner by not raising his voice or looking at the person in a rude or degrading way. Although I was extremely nervous about being in court I felt a sense of peace knowing that my case would be heard by a judge who was not going to make a rush or quick judgment, but would hear all the facts in the case. When I finally went to trial after 2 delays I was given the opportunity to be heard and so was my ex-husband. Judge Fall took all the facts and evidence into account and made the best decision for our child just as I have heard he has done for others. He actually took the time to review everything for several days before making his final decision. At no point did Judge Fall make me feel humiliated or not heard. Yes, he can be intimidating, but he is a judge and we should have respect for the court system. I would also like to point out that my ex-husbands attorney several times could not find paperwork he was looking for and we had to wait until he found it. Judge Fall never asked him to hurry up or made him feel bad. In fact, at the end he told the other attorney (in my own words) that even though he (attorney) was not totally prepared he still did a good job and smiled at him. Please take the time to look into both candidates before you make a decision in the end you will be happy you did.

  26. Anonymous

    I am a Woodland resident and I’ve already voted (absentee ballot) for Judge Fall in the upcoming election. Last year I spent 7 months in long term mediation with my ex-husband for child custody/visitation and my case eventually ending up in trial. Before going to trial my first 5 months were spent in Dept. 11 with a Judge who was brought back from retirement to help fill a void in that department. Each time I was in court the decision and explanations that were given were always different from the time before. It was like playing roulette I never knew what was going to happen next because the judge was so inconsistent. Eventually my case was moved to Dept. 2 for trial with Judge Fall (thank God!). I was told by several people outside the court system that Judge Fall can be harsh and that he demands respect in is court room, but that he is extremely fair in his decisions. I was grateful just to be seen by a judge who would make a fair and unbiased decision in the end. I had 3 encounters with Judge Fall. The first time I was in court I saw how he scanned the court and would speak up if someone was talking while clients were at the table. Fall would stop proceedings and address the person(s) who were interrupting, but he did it in a respectful manner by not raising his voice or looking at the person in a rude or degrading way. Although I was extremely nervous about being in court I felt a sense of peace knowing that my case would be heard by a judge who was not going to make a rush or quick judgment, but would hear all the facts in the case. When I finally went to trial after 2 delays I was given the opportunity to be heard and so was my ex-husband. Judge Fall took all the facts and evidence into account and made the best decision for our child just as I have heard he has done for others. He actually took the time to review everything for several days before making his final decision. At no point did Judge Fall make me feel humiliated or not heard. Yes, he can be intimidating, but he is a judge and we should have respect for the court system. I would also like to point out that my ex-husbands attorney several times could not find paperwork he was looking for and we had to wait until he found it. Judge Fall never asked him to hurry up or made him feel bad. In fact, at the end he told the other attorney (in my own words) that even though he (attorney) was not totally prepared he still did a good job and smiled at him. Please take the time to look into both candidates before you make a decision in the end you will be happy you did.

  27. Anonymous

    I am a Woodland resident and I’ve already voted (absentee ballot) for Judge Fall in the upcoming election. Last year I spent 7 months in long term mediation with my ex-husband for child custody/visitation and my case eventually ending up in trial. Before going to trial my first 5 months were spent in Dept. 11 with a Judge who was brought back from retirement to help fill a void in that department. Each time I was in court the decision and explanations that were given were always different from the time before. It was like playing roulette I never knew what was going to happen next because the judge was so inconsistent. Eventually my case was moved to Dept. 2 for trial with Judge Fall (thank God!). I was told by several people outside the court system that Judge Fall can be harsh and that he demands respect in is court room, but that he is extremely fair in his decisions. I was grateful just to be seen by a judge who would make a fair and unbiased decision in the end. I had 3 encounters with Judge Fall. The first time I was in court I saw how he scanned the court and would speak up if someone was talking while clients were at the table. Fall would stop proceedings and address the person(s) who were interrupting, but he did it in a respectful manner by not raising his voice or looking at the person in a rude or degrading way. Although I was extremely nervous about being in court I felt a sense of peace knowing that my case would be heard by a judge who was not going to make a rush or quick judgment, but would hear all the facts in the case. When I finally went to trial after 2 delays I was given the opportunity to be heard and so was my ex-husband. Judge Fall took all the facts and evidence into account and made the best decision for our child just as I have heard he has done for others. He actually took the time to review everything for several days before making his final decision. At no point did Judge Fall make me feel humiliated or not heard. Yes, he can be intimidating, but he is a judge and we should have respect for the court system. I would also like to point out that my ex-husbands attorney several times could not find paperwork he was looking for and we had to wait until he found it. Judge Fall never asked him to hurry up or made him feel bad. In fact, at the end he told the other attorney (in my own words) that even though he (attorney) was not totally prepared he still did a good job and smiled at him. Please take the time to look into both candidates before you make a decision in the end you will be happy you did.

  28. Anonymous

    I am a Woodland resident and I’ve already voted (absentee ballot) for Judge Fall in the upcoming election. Last year I spent 7 months in long term mediation with my ex-husband for child custody/visitation and my case eventually ending up in trial. Before going to trial my first 5 months were spent in Dept. 11 with a Judge who was brought back from retirement to help fill a void in that department. Each time I was in court the decision and explanations that were given were always different from the time before. It was like playing roulette I never knew what was going to happen next because the judge was so inconsistent. Eventually my case was moved to Dept. 2 for trial with Judge Fall (thank God!). I was told by several people outside the court system that Judge Fall can be harsh and that he demands respect in is court room, but that he is extremely fair in his decisions. I was grateful just to be seen by a judge who would make a fair and unbiased decision in the end. I had 3 encounters with Judge Fall. The first time I was in court I saw how he scanned the court and would speak up if someone was talking while clients were at the table. Fall would stop proceedings and address the person(s) who were interrupting, but he did it in a respectful manner by not raising his voice or looking at the person in a rude or degrading way. Although I was extremely nervous about being in court I felt a sense of peace knowing that my case would be heard by a judge who was not going to make a rush or quick judgment, but would hear all the facts in the case. When I finally went to trial after 2 delays I was given the opportunity to be heard and so was my ex-husband. Judge Fall took all the facts and evidence into account and made the best decision for our child just as I have heard he has done for others. He actually took the time to review everything for several days before making his final decision. At no point did Judge Fall make me feel humiliated or not heard. Yes, he can be intimidating, but he is a judge and we should have respect for the court system. I would also like to point out that my ex-husbands attorney several times could not find paperwork he was looking for and we had to wait until he found it. Judge Fall never asked him to hurry up or made him feel bad. In fact, at the end he told the other attorney (in my own words) that even though he (attorney) was not totally prepared he still did a good job and smiled at him. Please take the time to look into both candidates before you make a decision in the end you will be happy you did.

  29. Anonymous

    It’s over and done and the voters/establishment/money have spoken . . . I was attracted to the process of electing Judges because it appears like the legal establishment is very comfortable with the idea of not being perodically challenged – the Judges are generally appointed and they seem like a true good-old-boys club – if Fall is a “moderate- conservative” and he has Rosenberg as a co-poster boy then it must be chummy. If these are desinated to be elected positiona then let a lively debate erupt every few years.

  30. Anonymous

    It’s over and done and the voters/establishment/money have spoken . . . I was attracted to the process of electing Judges because it appears like the legal establishment is very comfortable with the idea of not being perodically challenged – the Judges are generally appointed and they seem like a true good-old-boys club – if Fall is a “moderate- conservative” and he has Rosenberg as a co-poster boy then it must be chummy. If these are desinated to be elected positiona then let a lively debate erupt every few years.

  31. Anonymous

    It’s over and done and the voters/establishment/money have spoken . . . I was attracted to the process of electing Judges because it appears like the legal establishment is very comfortable with the idea of not being perodically challenged – the Judges are generally appointed and they seem like a true good-old-boys club – if Fall is a “moderate- conservative” and he has Rosenberg as a co-poster boy then it must be chummy. If these are desinated to be elected positiona then let a lively debate erupt every few years.

  32. Anonymous

    It’s over and done and the voters/establishment/money have spoken . . . I was attracted to the process of electing Judges because it appears like the legal establishment is very comfortable with the idea of not being perodically challenged – the Judges are generally appointed and they seem like a true good-old-boys club – if Fall is a “moderate- conservative” and he has Rosenberg as a co-poster boy then it must be chummy. If these are desinated to be elected positiona then let a lively debate erupt every few years.

  33. PressurePoint

    I’ve known both persons for a long time. Fall can be tempermental, and is sometimes arbitrary if he doesn’t like an attorney, but is very intelligent. Walker is a showboat, exceptionally egotistical and had a boundless sense of entitlement. Yolo voters made the right choice between two differently flawed individuals.

  34. PressurePoint

    I’ve known both persons for a long time. Fall can be tempermental, and is sometimes arbitrary if he doesn’t like an attorney, but is very intelligent. Walker is a showboat, exceptionally egotistical and had a boundless sense of entitlement. Yolo voters made the right choice between two differently flawed individuals.

  35. PressurePoint

    I’ve known both persons for a long time. Fall can be tempermental, and is sometimes arbitrary if he doesn’t like an attorney, but is very intelligent. Walker is a showboat, exceptionally egotistical and had a boundless sense of entitlement. Yolo voters made the right choice between two differently flawed individuals.

  36. PressurePoint

    I’ve known both persons for a long time. Fall can be tempermental, and is sometimes arbitrary if he doesn’t like an attorney, but is very intelligent. Walker is a showboat, exceptionally egotistical and had a boundless sense of entitlement. Yolo voters made the right choice between two differently flawed individuals.

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