Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Parish: Yolo court needs criminal law experience

From page A1 | May 09, 2012 |

Deputy District Attorney Clinton Parrish is running for Yolo Superior Court judge. Courtesy photo

WOODLAND — Early in his legal career, Clint Parish took an executive fellowship with the California Attorney General’s Office in Sacramento. While there, he assisted in the prosecution of a Colusa County murder case.

It was during that trial that Parish first saw how violent crimes affect their victims and survivors — in this case, the devastated family of a woman who was tortured and killed by two men who then stole her car.

“From that point on, I really only wanted to be a prosecutor and help victims,” Parish said.

Parish’s next job was as a prosecutor for the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, where he has remained for the past decade. He started out handling misdemeanor crimes — DUIs, public intoxications and the like — before moving on to some of the county’s more serious criminal cases, including robberies, assaults and murders.

“You can really see the impact (crime) has on the victims,” said Parish, who estimates he’s handled more than 1,000 cases and 55 trials — about 40 of them felonies.

Today, Parish wants to take his criminal-law experience to a different level. He notes that Yolo County has seen the retirements of many of its longtime criminal-court judges in recent years, and he says he has the background to fill that void.

“You need to know it to be good at it,” said Parish, who is looking to unseat incumbent Yolo Superior Court Judge Dan Maguire in the June 5 election. He says despite his prosecutorial past, he could be a fair and impartial judge.

Parish, 40, says he has no personal beef with Maguire. Their families attend the same church. Their kids go to the same school.

“I’m not running for judge against him because I think he’s a bad person,” Parish said, though he has called Maguire’s appointment by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger “political payback.”

“I’m running because of the experience our courts need in criminal law,” he said.

Parish was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He served three years in the U.S. Army starting in 1990 — the same year he married his wife, Evelyn — and later graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in history.

He earned his law degree from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in 2000, and the following year received his master’s degree in law with an emphasis in government and public policy.

In addition to his courtroom duties, Parish serves as the lead attorney for the District Attorney Liaison Program, which fosters communications between the DA’s Office and Yolo County’s law-enforcement agencies. Through that program, Parish has taught classes on various legal issues to hundreds of sworn peace officers and cadets.

Outside of the office, Parish is a member of Luna Vista Rotary, Woodland Kiwanis and Knights of Columbus, and has coached for his children’s sports teams.

If elected, Parish likely would be assigned to other types of cases at first in order to avoid conflicts of interest. But he says his background is essential in a courthouse where criminal cases make up a majority of the docket.

He cites Assembly Bill 109, the measure enacted last October that calls for felons convicted of nonviolent, nonserious and nonsexual crimes to serve their time in county jails rather than state prison. Parish said his experience in criminal-law matters will ensure those people are suitably sentenced.

“Who’s walking our streets is really important to a lot of people,” Parish said.

Parish’s major backers include his boss, Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig, Sheriff Ed Prieto, as well as the Woodland, Winters and West Sacramento police officers’ associations. Crime Victims United of California also has endorsed him.

Other supporters have included two jurors who served during the trial of Noelle Warren, whose felony hit-and-run case Parish prosecuted last year and resulted in a three-year prison sentence for the Dixon woman. The family of the victim in that case, Jonathan Pinkerton, also has contributed to Parish’s campaign.

“It’s nice to see that the people who have seen me in action are wanting me to be a judge,” he said.

Parish and his wife, who live in Woodland, have four children: Elza, 11; Cole, 10; Emily, 7; and Christian, 5.

— Reach Lauren Keene at lkeene@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8048. Follow her on Twitter @laurenkeene


Discussion | 7 comments

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  • OldGuyMay 08, 2012 - 9:33 pm

    It is really fantastic that we have an opportunity to elect our judge!! With 8 of the 10 judges in Yolo County having been appointed and NEVER facing election, this is really refreshing. It would be nice to have someone who is not in the position because of a political favor. Mr. Parish is intellegent and honest. His opponent, Dan Maguire claims he handled 30 criminal cases in his entire legal career - but none of which were felony cases. Not one. Schwarzenegger appointed Maguire in the last days of his LAST administration for a reason. Case closed.

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  • SmartGuyMay 08, 2012 - 10:36 pm

    Maguire is intelligent and has civil experience--a rare commodity on the state bench. The last thing this bench needs is another assistant DA who has never touched a civil case and whose main experience is pleading out cases. Why doesn't someone ask Parrish what civil experience he has?

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  • OldGuyMay 09, 2012 - 8:20 am

    With eight judges on the current bench with lots of civil experience it is already heavy with civil experience. The fact that over 80% of the cases in Yolo being criminal in nature reflects the need. In fact all of the Yolo County leaders as well as Judge Rosenberg requested someone with CRIMINAL experience. Schwarzenegger sent a patent attorney. Sad. There is a reason that over 40% of Maguire's money is coming to his campaign from outside Yolo County and of that a lot from developers. Also sad. I guess you can never really take the POLITICAL appointment mentality out of a person.

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  • Hye-Youn ParkMay 14, 2012 - 10:26 pm

    "OldGuy", why do you hide your name? Could it be Clint Parish? Kirby Wells? If you have an opinion, please don't hide behind an anonymous handle. In any case, Mr. Parish's blatant disregard for the truth is disgusting and far from what we need in the position of judge. See today's piece at davisvanguard.org for an unbiased view of the facts.

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  • ShawnMay 15, 2012 - 9:59 am

    Old Guy is Kirby Wells

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  • Tim FallMay 09, 2012 - 12:23 pm

    Judge Maguire is just who Yolo County needs on the Superior Court, and brings a wonderful set of skills and experiences with him. He is the best choice for our vote. But first let me mention something about the other judges . The judges in Yolo County have significant criminal experience. Judge Mock came from the DA's office and joined the court in 1990. I started hearing felonies in 1995. Judge Rosenberg has over 8 years of criminal trial experience as a judge. Judge Richardson came from the DA's office and Judge Gaard from the Attorney General's ofiice and brought their criminal law experience with them when appointed to the court in 2008. Judge Reed had a criminal practice for years when he came on the bench in 2009. Judge White (2003) and Judge Basha (2006) have also done significant criminal work as judges, including multiple felony trials. Judge Maguire is the wisest and best choice for the people of Yolo County. His extensive experience covers civil, criminal and government law, and he has done a great job since starting as a judge back in 2010. In fact, when I heard he had applied for the position I knew we could not go wrong with him on the court. He is the only candidate who has exactly what we need in a judge: good judgment, a proven record, and an ability to understand and fairly address the needs of all people who come into this courtroom. Tim Fall Judge of the Superior Court, Yolo County

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  • Go Judge MaguireMay 09, 2012 - 7:35 pm

    Well said, Judge Fall.

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