Clovis Planning Commissioner and attorney William “Billy” Terrence is in the hunt for a seat on the Fresno County judges bench.
The longtime Clovis resident and senior deputy district attorney is in the running against private practice attorney Roger Wilson of Fresno. For weeks, their campaign signs have been popping up throughout the county and with just the two vying for the position, it will all be decided at the June election coming up June 5.
As a Clovisite, Terrence has already secured much support from Clovis leaders, including fellow attorney Mayor Bob Whalen.
But who is the man behind the sign—this recent appointee to the Clovis Planning Commission who wishes to don the long black robe of justice? The Roundup recently sat down with Terrance to find out.
Terrence, of course, is no stranger to Clovis but he is no mere resident either. Born technically in Fresno, Terrence has lived in Clovis since shortly after his birth and came up through the ranks as a tri-athlete (football, basketball and baseball) at Clovis Unified’s Mickey Cox Elementary, Clark Intermediate and Clovis High School. His passion for athletics was so great he strongly considered coaching as a career path and even served as a football coach at both Clark and Clovis High early on in his college career.
After graduating from Fresno State, however, Terrence decided to go to law school in Orange County at Whittier College in Costa Mesa. Although he loved the Southern California weather, he couldn’t escape the magnetic pull back to the Central Valley and his hometown of Clovis.
“I came back home and started working for a local private law firm doing civil litigation and some business litigation with an emphasis in civil rights,” Terrence said. “I worked there for about three years and then an opportunity came for me to go work for the District Attorney’s office in 2007. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at being a trial attorney so I made the jump.”
The DA’s office was a natural fit for Terrence, who comes from a family of law enforcement workers. His mother served as a domestic violence counselor peace officer with the Clovis Police Department for 25 years, his brother is a sergeant with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, and his little sister works for the DA’s office in Santa Barbara.
“I was thrilled to join the DA’s office and join the same profession that my family had excelled in – and I’ve been there ever since,” Terrence said.
At first, Terrence’s work focused on misdemeanor and juvenile crime. Then, he moved up to work domestic violence cases and from 2013 to 2015, he worked as a prosecutor with the gang task force MAGEC (Multi-Agency Gang Enforcement Consortium). In January 2015, he switched to the homicide unit and began prosecuting those accused of murder.
If elected Superior Court judge, Terrence says he will continue to seek justice as he has as an attorney.
“My goal as Superior Court judge would be to continue to seek justice for everyone within the county and to continue to serve my community,” Terrence said. “It would be a humbling and awesome experience to be tasked as the person who is there to make sure people who come before the court have a fair trial. Whether it is a dispute between two businessmen, or a dispute between two different corporations, or if it is a criminal case and someone has been violated and we have to find the just result for the defendant, my goal would be to continue doing that as I’ve tried to do throughout my career as an attorney and as a citizen: seek justice.”
Of course, if Terrence wins the race, rules and ethics dictate he must step down from any political offices held, including the planning commission. So, while the prospect of becoming Superior Court judge is exciting and is an outcome he strives for, Terrence said it will be somewhat bittersweet to step down from a role he’s thoroughly enjoyed serving in over the last year.
“[Serving on the commission] is such a great change of pace as I get to focus on something much more positive which is the growth of our town and the future of our community,” Terrence said. “It’s humbling to be able to have a little bit of influence on what this town is going to look like in 30 years, especially given the respect I have for the people who were able to do this 30 years ago, who gave insight to projects like Harlan Ranch and Loma Vista. They really cared about what this town should look like and it makes Clovis what it is today. The fact I get to help contribute to that now is humbling.”
In addition to working for the DA’s office and serving on the Clovis Planning Commission, Terrence is husband to Julie, a third-grade teacher with Clovis Unified, and father to two sons, ages 5 and 7. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family and coaching his sons’ baseball teams.
For more information about Terrence and his campaign, visit www.terrenceforjudge.com