Phimister ready to move up in the ranks |

Phimister ready to move up in the ranks

Currently a junior judge, Doug Phimister is on the November ballot to hopefully join the big league ranks of Superior Court judges in El Dorado County.

Phimister, 61, is facing family law attorney Mary Muse in a November run-off election for Superior Court judge in Office One. In the March election, Phimister netted about 1,500 fewer votes than Muse but is determined to change those numbers.

Phimister is banking on his experience and background to get him elected. He cites his caseload of hearing 5,000 cases a year and his 36 years of studying law. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, he travels to South Lake Tahoe to be the traffic court judge. A bit surprised at the March results, Phimister found he doesn’t have the name recognition that Muse, who sits on a Placerville area school board and other community agencies, enjoys.

“I had to work a lot harder to get my name out there but I have more experience and a broader background,” Phimister said. “But I found that’s not important to voters.”

Phimister cited his experience of having more than 2,000 clients, 900 cases filed and 300 cases that went to trial. He was the attorney for the El Dorado County Grand Jury in 1994.

While growing up in New York, Phimister would often take trips to his uncle’s dairy farm up north. During that time, he wanted to become a cowboy. In the 1960s, he traveled to Montana to look into smoke jumper school. The school wasn’t holding classes at that time, so he decided to visit a friend in California.

Not having a bachelor’s degree, he decided to enroll at the University of La Verne in the San Fernando Valley. He graduated four years later in 1970.

“Once I got into law and got fascinated with it, there was nothing else,” Phimister said. “One of my professors said law was like a jealous mistress. I feel that is the way it is.”

Married with three children and five grandchildren, Phimister spends his leisure time working on his ranch in Latrobe. He walks along his fence, cuts wood, watches calves being born and gazes at the stars.

Asked what he values, Phimister replied integrity and honesty. He prides himself on a job well done and delivering fairness to his clients.

“If you gave me your case, I would take care of your case,” he said. “It’s easy to have a good reputation when you take care of your client’s business.”

— Contact William Ferchland at

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