Ex-Navy lawyer wants to be a judge | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Ex-Navy lawyer wants to be a judge

Current Placerville attorney, former U.S. Navy lawyer and all-time cook David Becker wants to become the next El Dorado County Superior Court judge in Office Six.

Becker, 44, is battling El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney James Wagoner in a Nov. 5 run-off election for one of the three open Placerville judgeships.

Becker received the top billing in March’s primary election when he pulled in 13,376 votes. Wagoner gathered 11,428.

About 13 years ago, Becker moved to Placerville to become an attorney after six years as a Navy lawyer. His practice handles mostly civil cases with a focus on probate, family, business and juvenile law. Becker now handles fewer criminal cases than he did in the Navy, where he defended soldiers on rape, robbery, murder and arson charges. He was commended by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for his work prosecuting white collar crime.

“(Wagoner) has extensive experience in criminal law,” Becker said. “While I have had many years of experience in criminal law, I am also well-qualified in areas of civil, environmental, governmental, real estate and business law.”

For example, Becker said he has handled over 400 civil and criminal trials and received the highest national rating for lawyer ethics and skills.

When he was 16, Becker moved out of his parents’ house and lived in his own apartment, working as a cook at a Howard Johnson’s Restaurant. He graduated with his class at a Dublin high school and went to college at Los Angeles. For money, he cooked his way through college.

“I’ve always been sort of an early independent type,” he admitted.

After graduating from Sacramento’s McGeorge School of Law, Becker wanted trial experience and travel. He got both when he was recruited to be a military attorney and practiced in Rhode Island, San Diego and Tokyo, Japan.

Like all of the runoff candidates, Becker believes the efficiency of the Superior Court system could be better.

“Our courts have been performing poorly because judges have limited themselves to one sort of case or another, so when they’re done with their preferable kind of cases, they don’t reach out to get overflow from other judges,” Becker said.

He cited with disdain El Dorado County’s ranking 43rd out of California’s 58 counties in court processing. Every judge should hear every type of case, he said.

At age 5 he knew he wanted to become an attorney. Thirty-nine years later he wants to become judge.

“I think judging cases and control is what I’m best suited for from a personal perspective,” he said. “I have acquired the skills to resolve disputes. (This) makes me better judging disputes.”

— Contact William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com.

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