OBSERVER Staff Report
Incumbent town of Pomfret Judge David Prince said allegations made by opponent David DeJoe during a League of Women Voters debate on Thursday are "bizarre," "unprofessional" and "demean the office of town justice."
"I was honestly surprised with the comments and tone of Mr. DeJoe during the debate," Prince said in a news release to the OBSERVER. "While I expected discussion regarding issues, I did not anticipate a personal attack or an attempt at character assassination."
Judge David Prince plans to take action against his opponent.
The "personal attacks" have led Prince to take these steps:
Filing a complaint with the Judicial Ethics Committee regarding DeJoe's tactics in the election.
Requesting a review by the League of Women Voters Fair Campaign Practices Committee by DeJoe for improper campaign practices.
Filing a complaint with the county Board of Elections.
During the debate, which was held in the village of Fredonia court and televised on local cable access, DeJoe said Prince's vehicle is parked in front of "drinking establishments." Prince responded to those allegations.
"I am in downtown Fredonia daily," Prince said. "I work in Fredonia. I live in Fredonia. I do business in Fredonia. Just because I am parked downtown doesn't in any way mean that I am drinking somewhere.
"I park in different spots, and to be honest, it is hard to park anywhere where there is not a bar or liquor store. I frequent many places in the village and I park where there is a space. To compare my personal vehicle to a publicly owned police cruiser is totally ridiculous."
Prince also took issue with DeJoe's statement on the majority of cases that come before the court are for open container, underage driving and driving under the influence cases. "He also implied that my personal conduct could be questioned," Prince said. "In fact, Mr. DeJoe's statement is incorrect.
"Had he bothered to review the statistics with the town court, he would have found that of the 3,753 cases handled in 2010, only 69 were alcohol related or less than 2 percent of the total cases handled. The majority were, in fact, the 3,323 vehicle-traffic cases handled. This indicates that Mr. DeJoe really does not have any knowledge of the workings of the court. Further there has never been any question of my personal conduct."
In regard to the Ethics Committee concerns, Prince said it is the panel's policy to not comment on any investigation. "However, I was informed that a complaint has been filed against me by my opponent, David DeJoe, but that there is no investigation," Prince said. "Therefore, his closing statement was false and misleading."
Prince also took issue with the political contributions statement made by DeJoe at the debate. "In 2009 I was up for re-election for the office of Fredonia village justice and was unopposed and cross-endorsed," he said. "I had received campaign funds and decided to donate to the local political parties. I divided this equally and gave the Republican party $500 and Democrat party $500. So again, he only told half the story."
These campaign tactics, Prince said, are "unprofessional."
"Allegedly he has been doing surveillance with video evidence, audio evidence, photographic evidence and testimonials," Prince said. "What kind of a campaign is he running? This is not only bizarre behavior, but it borders on being illegal and at the very least an invasion of privacy not only of me, but my family and friends.
"I wonder if a person who would go to this length to win a town justice position would misuse his authority if elected? I am very concerned about the negativity that Mr. DeJoe has brought into the race for town justice.
"His half truths, innuendos and false accusations cannot go unanswered because they demean the office of town justice. I have held this office with the utmost respect for 20 years and I question whether a person who would resort to these tactics is capable to hold the position of town justice."