D.A. Investigates 'Allegations' Against Clerk of Court in Vista

The clerk of the Municipal Court here is under criminal investigation following "allegations received from public officials in North County," the San Diego County district attorney's office said Tuesday.

District attorney's spokesman Steve Casey said the investigation of William Hartford is being conducted by the special operations division of the district attorney's office. That division handles investigations of public officials.

Casey said the inquiry began about a week ago. He declined further comment, including any comment on the nature of the allegations.

Word of the investigation surfaced Tuesday afternoon in the Oceanside Blade-Tribune.

Hartford, reached by telephone at home, said he knew nothing of the investigation until the Oceanside newspaper called him Tuesday morning.

"I'm on vacation. I just got back from Mammoth last night. I don't know what else to tell you," Hartford said.

Hartford has been the clerk of the North County Judicial District for 11 years, serving as the highest-ranking staff employee of the Municipal Courts here and as the official custodian of court records and documents.

He is appointed by, and serves at the will of, the municipal judges.

Presiding Municipal Court Judge Victor Ramirez said he would not comment on the matter.

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