Sunday, April 26, 2015

Judicial candidates face off at Bar Association forum

From page A1 | April 10, 2014 |

WOODLAND — Four candidates for Yolo Superior Court judge squared off Wednesday before an audience of attorneys who would appear in their courtroom should they be elected.

Sponsored by the Yolo County Bar Association, the hourlong forum in the County Administration Building revealed the contenders’ views on topics ranging from their judicial philosophies to court operations to their perceived strengths and weaknesses.

Yolo Superior Court Commissioner Janene Beronio, criminal defense attorney John P. Brennan, family-law attorney Fredrick Cohen and Deputy Attorney General Larenda Delaini are vying for the seat being vacated by Judge Stephen Mock when he retires in January.

Not surprisingly, all four declared themselves the most qualified person for the job.

“I am the only candidate who has spent my entire career working in Yolo County,” said Beronio, a former prosecutor who was appointed commissioner in 1989. She touted herself as a “known quantity” to the local legal community, one who would not have to make the transition from client advocate to impartial judicial officer if elected.

“I do not have to learn how to be a judge,” Beronio said, citing her background presiding over civil, criminal, traffic, small claims and juvenile courts. “That experience really matters. The longer I’ve been on the bench, the more seasoned I’ve become.”

With criminal-law cases comprising the bulk of the Yolo Superior Court’s workload, Brennan, a West Sacramento resident, said his experience as a former prosecutor, in addition to his defense work, gives him a unique advantage over his three competitors.

While newly elected judges typically spend the first few years presiding over cases outside their area of expertise, Brennan said his private practice has exposed him to a wide variety of cases — including civil, family and unlawful detainer matters — and has prepared him for any assignment that might come along.

“I don’t know if there’s anything I haven’t done,” he said.

Cohen, a UC Davis law school graduate, said he would adapt quickly to a new assignment but noted that Yolo’s courts are in desperate need of a judge who is well versed in family law. He said he possesses the “emotional fortitude” to preside over the most difficult of cases and has no qualms about speaking his mind.

“My philosophy is to say what I mean and mean what I say,” Cohen said. “I’m blunt and I’m honest to a fault, and sometimes that takes people aback, but that’s my greatest strength.”

Delaini, meanwhile, emphasized her character and efficiency. “I can handle a number of tasks at a time while doing them well,” she said, citing her full-time job, family responsibilities, volunteer activities and teaching duties at both Sacramento City College and Lincoln Law School.

And while her fascination with learning and analyzing the law contributed to her decision to run for judge, “the most important reason … is to continue serving the public and continue doing the community service I have spent most of my adult life doing,” the Davis resident and West Sacramento native said.

On several subjects the candidates were largely aligned, such as the view that courtrooms are places for people to be heard and for judges to issue fair and impartial rulings based on the facts and the law, not on what’s popular.

All four also agreed that a lack of funding is the greatest challenge facing the courts — in Yolo County and beyond — and said they recognize the importance of working efficiently in spite of those dwindling resources.

Election Day is June 3. If no judicial candidate receives a majority vote, however, the top two vote-getters will move on to a runoff election in November.

Yolo County Bar Association President Allison Zuvela said the association’s members will be surveyed next week as to whether a candidate should be endorsed and, if so, who should receive the organization’s backing.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene



  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .


    Davis team wins world robotics championship

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery



    Those texts still linger

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery



    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery





    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery



    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6



    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8