Senior Madera County Deputy District Attorney Paul J. Hornick, 39, has announced his intentions to run for Madera County District Attorney in the June 5 primary election against his boss, incumbent David Linn.
Hornick said that after deep personal reflection and several discussions with members of the community, he is formally announcing his intention to run for the office.
“The people of Madera County need someone who will focus on the issues with proven leadership experience, a strong tough-on-crime record, and unquestioned integrity,” Hornick said. “I will hold to my obligation of putting our constituents and the county ahead of my own political interests.”
On Nov. 27 Linn was censored by the Madera County Board of Supervisors after a two month investigation from an outside law firm presented the supervisors with a report detailing alleged workplace harassment, discrimination and abuse.
Linn stands by his belief the allegations of misconduct brought against him by members of his staff – including his making derogatory sexist and racial comments – are untrue, and says supervisors are using the investigation as retaliation toward him after they became aware that he was investigating them for accepting illegal campaign contributions from developers.
Linn told the Sierra Star that his office has an ongoing investigation into inappropriate campaign contributions to supervisors David Rogers, Robert L. Poythress, Brett Frazier, Max Rodriguez and Tom Wheeler from developers who are making deals with the county that could be worth “millions to billions of dollars.”
Supervisor David Rogers calls Linn’s charges a “smokescreen” to take the attention off the accusations against him (Linn).
Speaking during his lunch break Wednesday, Hornick said he told Linn he was going to run and his interaction with the incumbent DA has been cordial at this time.
“I hope he continues to see it that way,” Hornick said. “We will see if that changes as the race continues.”
Hornick, who has been a member of the DA office for almost three years, told the Sierra Star the DA office is floundering.
“If you’re not working in this office, it’s almost impossible to believe what you would hear in the office,” Hornick said. “The DA office continues to struggle with leadership and leadership-related issues. As a veteran and former platoon leader, it was no longer acceptable for me to watch from the sidelines.”
“I am thankful to Linn for hiring me to join the Madera County district attorney’s staff, and I have appreciation for that,” Hornick said.
Hornick said he is a very loyal person, but “at some point people need to be free from verbal harassment which has been an issue in this office. No one is making these allegations up.”
He said as a senior deputy district attorney he has been involved with some big cases in the county including the George Taylor-Windsor murder case along with Senior Deputy DA John Barker. Taylor-Windsor was found guilty of first degree murder near Oakhurst the night of Nov. 15, 2016, and was sentenced to 38 years to life.
Hornick said he has also worked on a couple homicide and attempted murder cases in the Valley.
He said he recently finished the trial of Donald Edward Anderson, 62, who was found guilty in December of Driving Under the Influence of Zanax, fleeing the scene of an accident and failing to appear in court after an accident on Highway 41 and Ave. 12 in February, 2017, seriously injuring two people. Hornick said Anderson is facing an 11 year sentence.
In conclusion, Hornick said he likes seeking, serving and and pursuing justice for the good people of Madera County.
Hornick’s campaign manager is Darren Rose, who served as Linn’s campaign manager when Linn beat incumbent Michael Keitz in 2014 with 58.5% of the vote.
Hornick was raised in upper New York state and attended the University of New York, College at Oswego, where he received his a BA in criminal justice, with a minor in accounting; he also did some work in forensics.
A professor at the college encouraged him to apply and enter law school, and he soon entered Nova Southeastern University (Sheppard Broad Law School), graduating in 2004, soon after passing the bar exam in Florida. He served as a prosecutor in Broward County, Florida, for about four years, before making a career change.
“I felt like I wanted to do more than sit behind a desk, so I joined the Army,” Hornick explained.
After basic training, he entered Officer’s Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He spent just over three years on active duty and served as a platoon leader with the 4th Engineer Battalion at Fort Carson, Colorado. He continues to serve as captain with the Army JAG Corps reserve and is presently under review for a promotion to major.
“My leadership philosophy comes from the Army, and I feel new leadership is needed in the current DA office,” Hornick said. “I would not ask anyone to do anything that I would not be willing to do myself.”
Hornick is the second candidate to announce a run for the district attorney post.
Sally Moreno, a veteran of Central Valley prosecutor’s offices since 1996, announced in March she will challenge Linn for his position.
Moreno, who was born in Fresno, graduated from San Joaquin Memorial High School in 1985, and currently lives in the Madera Ranchos.
While she attended college at University of California Santa Barbara, Moreno entered the U.S. Army’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After she graduated from UCSB in 1990, Moreno became an officer at the Los Angeles Police Department, and was called to duty in Operation Desert Storm.
She graduated from the San Joaquin College of Law in 1995, and was hired at the Merced County District Attorney’s Office in 1996.
Moreno worked there for two years until she started having children and worked on-and-off in Fresno and Merced for 12 years until she joined the Madera County District Attorney’s Office in 2011. She worked there until July of 2015, when she was offered a a job with the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.
In her tenure as a prosecutor, Moreno has worked in a variety of cases including domestic violence, child sexual assault, DUIs and gangs.
Her most notable case in the Mountain Area was the arson trial of Kenneth Jackson and Allison Waterman, sentenced to more than 30 and 10 years in prison, respectively, for starting more than 20 fires in Yosemite Lakes Park in May and June of 2013.