Leslie Parraguirre, Wife of Nevada Supreme Court justice Ron Parraguirre faces trial on misdemeanor DUI charge

By CARRI GEER THEVENOT
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Leslie Parraguirre, the wife of Nevada Supreme Court Justice Ron Parraguirre, is facing an April trial on a misdemeanor DUI charge.

Her attorney, Richard Wright, said she was arrested in late October after a minor traffic collision on West Charleston Boulevard in the Summerlin area.

“She’s embarrassed and deeply regrets the situation,” Wright said late Wednesday.

The attorney said she was driving alone the evening of her arrest. He said she was arrested on two misdemeanors, DUI and battery, but Las Vegas Justice Court’s online records show that the latter charge was dismissed on Feb. 4 after the state chose not to proceed.

Wright declined to comment on the battery charge.

Online records for the DUI case begin on Oct. 30 with a “temporary custody record” and show an “own recognizance release” on Oct. 31.

A criminal complaint was filed Dec. 15 but could not be obtained late Wednesday. The case lists a second misdemeanor charge of failing to “decrease speed or use due care.”

According to the online records, a plea of not guilty was entered Feb. 1, and a bench trial has been scheduled for April 7 before Justice of the Peace Karen Bennett-Haron.

Wright said he has not appeared in court on the matter with his client.

“The case is being handled by the district attorney’s office just like any other case, and we will continue to address it appropriately,” the lawyer said.

Leslie Parraguirre operates an interior design firm, Colours Inc., in Las Vegas. The business has been embroiled in litigation in recent months.

In a federal lawsuit, filed in November 2014, a California woman claims her former bookkeeper wrongfully transferred more than $180,000 from her bank accounts to Leslie Parraguirre, who is one of the defendants in the civil case.

Leslie Parraguirre has filed a counterclaim against the woman, Tonia Antonacci. According to the counterclaim, Colours hired the bookkeeper based on Antonacci’s “high recommendation.”

The bookkeeper, Roxanne Sparks, has admitted she made the wrongful transfers.

“I was trying to save the Parraguirre company and save everyone’s jobs,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in January. She said she has not faced criminal charges.

When Sparks “abruptly left” Colours on April 30, 2014, according to the counterclaim, she had drained its corporate accounts and Leslie Parraguirre’s personal accounts.

“Some accounts were left with less than $100 and every corporate and personal credit card was drawn to its maximum limit as a result of Sparks’s unauthorized use and failure to pay the statements as directed by Colours and/or Parraguirre.”

According to the Colours website, the Las Vegas-based boutique design firm was established in 1988 under the leadership of Leslie Parraguirre, a lifelong Nevadan. Its address is listed as 500 S. Seventh St.

Ron Parraguirre has been on the Nevada Supreme Court since 2004.

Is the fact that the judges on the Nevada Court of Appeals used to be district court judges unfairly affect their decision making process?

An Appellate Court needs to rule by the law

CourtOfAppeals2015The idea of an Appellate Court is to lessen the case burden on the Supreme Court and at the same time make a decision on whether a judge in lower courts was able to conduct a fair trial lawfully.
We see one potential problem with that concept. The judges on the Appellate Court that was created just a year ago used to be co-workers with the same judge they now have to oversee. An Appellate Court needs to rule by the law.
The courts must rule by statutes that have been enacted by the legislators and thereby becoming public policies of Nevada. Judges must also follow all binding and mandatory precedents issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest Court in the land.
A good example of what we are stating is the recent decision of the Nevada Appellate Court in existence for only twelve months in the case of Feeley v. Feeley has affirmed Judge Allan Earl’s order that violates the Fourteenth Amendment and is thereby unconstitutional. One can only wonder if the Appellate Court ignored the law to protect a
colleague.
Former Nevada District Court Judge Allan Earl broke all rules and laws in the case of Feeley v. Feeley by exceeding his jurisdiction for the sole purpose of enriching attorneys in his court.
That ruling violated the Fourteen Amendment, therefore it must be considered unconstitutional and void, but now the 3-judge panel at the Appellate Court has failed to obey the Constitution of the United States and the State of Nevada by siding with Judge Allan Earl on his felonious ruling in the case of Feeley v. Feeley.
For the last six months the Las Vegas Tribune has been writing about the Feeley v. Feeley case and every week we have found more than one reason to keep exposing judicial misconduct and abuse of power by Judge Allan Earl.
The Appellate Court was created for the sole purpose to help the Supreme Court expedite results to correct errors that have taken place in the lower courts where just twelve months ago these appellate judges were fraternizing with the same judges they now have to judge, oversee, but may not be able to overrule.
Judges are supposed to rule by law and not be influenced by previous, present or future friendship — and in the case of Feeley v. Feeley, that seems to be the case where the 3-judge panel ignored all the evidence that shows their obvious intention to protect Judge Allan Earl’s inability to enforce or follow the law.
If inducing a bank to not honor a binding commitment, submitting a false document to a federal chartered bank, and dispersing illegally obtained funds are all considered felony crimes, which could place Judge Allan Earl in a federal penitentiary like anyone else who would have participated in those kinds of crimes, how is it that the newly created Appellate Court cannot see it and opted instead for siding with Judge Earl and ruled against the appellant?
Is it because at least two of the appointed Appellate Court judges, now up for election, have been co-workers of Judge Allan Earl a reason to wonder about the decision of the appellate court judges in the case of Feeley v. Feeley — or are we too narrow-minded to see it any other way?
If any future decision or ruling by this Appellate Court is going to be tainted by doubts and wondering about the motives on their ruling, and the way they are going to operate, why do we need an Appellate Court?
Many times we have stated that if the judges in the lower courts were doing their job correctly and by law the appellate would not be needed because there will be less needed to appeal but if the reason and motive of the ruling is going to be questioned that is even worse.
The Appellate Court was sold to the voters by saying that it would not be an extra expense to the voters but now the judiciary has decide that the housing of the appellate court sharing space with the Supreme Court is not big enough for the ego of both the justices and the appellate judges and they have to build a new building for them wondering who is paying for it and where the money comes from given the impression that they sold the constituents a bill of goods as it has been done in previous cases and other jurisdictions.
Another vivid example of why the voters, the constituents and the community as a whole, need to pay attention to whom they elect, why they vote for the particular candidate. This is a year when the candidates have to learn to answer to the voters.

SOURCE: http://lasvegastribune.net/appellate-court-rule-law/courtofappeals2015/

 

Nevada ruling: Police have power to intercept cell calls

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court said Thursday that the state’s wiretap law permits the interception of cellphone calls and text messages even though it has not been updated since 1973.

The ruling, written by Justice Mark Gibbons, was the result of an appeal by Phillip Sharpe of his trafficking in a controlled substance conviction out of Lyon County.

In 2010, police began investigating Sharpe after receiving information he sold methamphetamine. Officers obtained a warrant authorizing a wiretap to intercept communications on two different cellphone numbers attributed to Sharpe.

Due in part to the wiretap information, police arrested Sharpe and confiscated 3.25 pounds of meth from his vehicle.

Sharpe sought to suppress the wiretap evidence but a judge denied the motion. He then pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 10 years.

On appeal Sharpe argued that the wiretap information should be suppressed because Nevada law does not allow the interception of cellular communications.

But a three-justice panel of the court said Nevada’s law regarding “wire communications” includes cellphones. The court said that “wireless” cellphone communications do involve the use of a wire when the communication reaches a cellular tower and is then transmitted by wire through a switching station to another transmitting tower.

“We agree with the conclusion of our sister courts: cellular telephone calls and text messages rely in part upon the aid of wire for the purposes of transmission,” Gibbons wrote.

As a result, the court upheld Sharpe’s conviction.

– See more at: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/nevada-ruling-police-have-power-intercept-cell-calls#sthash.U5l7HM0C.dpuf

Nevada Legislature: Budget bill repeals language mandating Supreme Court reduction

Without a public hearing or discussion of its cost, lawmakers added language to the Appropriations Act repealing the statute mandating Nevada’s Supreme Court shrink from seven to five members.

The language in NRS2.010 says the high court must be reduced if and when an Intermediate Appellate Court is approved by the voters.

Voters did just that last November, creating an appellate court consisting of three justices. That court is already in business, expedited by Chief Justice Jim Hardesty.

Going forward, as terms of the current justices expire, the statute would mandate that, “the supreme court shall consist of a chief justice and four associate justices.”

The language was passed in 1997 in trade for expanding the high court from five to seven justices and authorizing them to hear cases in three-judge panels instead of “en banc.”

Lawmakers and the court reasoned at the time that, with an appellate court in place, the Supreme Court could operate effectively with five members.

When the statute was made public earlier this year, Hardesty said whether or not the Legislature saw fit to change that statute was a policy decision up to that body.

While the court might make an effective case for maintaining seven members because of the growing caseload, there was no public discussion or hearings about removing the statute.

The repeal language simply showed up on Sunday, day 119 of the 120-day session, in the “back language” of the primary budget bill, the Appropriations Act.

Under the state’s budget act, the proper procedure for handling that situation would be for the Supreme Court to present its requested 2018-2019 budget with funding for a five-justice high court included, and then present the “expansion” of the court back to seven members in a separate decision unit.

That decision unit would spell out the cost of adding back the two justices and their staffs — which would be in excess of $500,000 a year — and let lawmakers clearly see the impact.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Roberson, R-Las Vegas — a lawyer — referred questions about the repeal language to Finance Chairman Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno.

“We did nothing illegal,” said Kieckhefer when asked about it.

Nevada Supreme Court could eventually shrink

FRAUD UPON THE COURT Reno, NV Judge Patrick Flanagan and 5 Nevada Supreme Court Justices completely fabricated an entire caseBy Geoff Dornan:

May be down to five members in 2019

If the plain language of current statute is followed, the Nevada Supreme Court is going to shrink from seven members to five in the November 2018 election.

That’s because NRS2.010 says the high court must be reduced if and when an Intermediate Appellate Court is approved by the voters.

Nevada voters did just that last November. An appellate court consisting of three justices has been named and is now hearing cases.

Chief Justice Jim Hardesty is going to address lawmakers tonight on the state of the judicial branch — including a report on how the appellate court is doing.

At present, there are seven justices on the high court. But NRS2.010 says after voters establish an intermediate appellate court, “the supreme court shall consist of a chief justice and four associate justices.”

The language was inserted into state law in 1997 in trade for expanding the court from five to seven justices and authorizing them to hear cases in three-justice panels. Lawmakers reasoned at the time that, if an appellate court was in place, the high court could operate efficiently with just five members.

“Section 9 of the bill makes clear the seats would sunset January 2019,” said Hardesty.

But he said the court has not submitted legislation to change that law.

“Whether or if the Legislature sees fit, modifying that is a policy decision theirs to make,” Hardesty said.

AB343 was approved by the Senate Finance Committee on July 4, 1997, and included language stating the two added justices and the panels expire when the appellate court opens for business.

According to the bill history: “The additional justices whose positions are abolished by the creation of such an intermediate appellate court must be permitted to serve the remainder of their terms in office, but the positions of the additional justices and any positions of staff hired directly to support them must be abolished at the end of those terms.”

Nancy Saitta and Mark Douglas would serve out their six-year terms but their seats would be eliminated Jan. 1, 2019.

Approval of the appellate court also eliminates the system of three-judge panels the Supreme Court has been using to expedite hearings on the majority of cases.

The sunset provision was actually suggested by Justice Cliff Young in 1997. The language was inserted during the Assembly Ways and Means hearing on the bill.

Hardesty conceded reducing the size of the Supreme Court could slow the court’s ability to process the backlog of cases.

“One would think that would be part of the decision,” he said.

He noted since the language was approved 18 years ago the number of cases filed with the Supreme Court has increased.

Statistics for Fiscal 1997 were not readily available but the numbers on the high court’s website show in FY2000, the earliest year available, there were 1,940 cases filed and 1,932 disposed of.

FY2014, the annual report says, saw 2,481 cases filed and 1,988 disposed of. That’s a 541 case increase but just 46 more disposed of.

Court records indicate there was a backlog of 1,988 cases pending at the end of Fiscal 2014.

The number of authored opinions, however, remained pretty much the same — 106 in 2000 to 105 in 2014.

Hardesty said it’s up to the Legislature either this year or in 2017 to decide whether the growing workload warrants removal of the sunset.

“All I can say is we would have less appellate judges working on cases,” Hardesty said

Drop in traffic tickets has Nevada Supreme Court near broke, chief justice says

Featured

FRAUD UPON THE COURT Reno, NV Judge Patrick Flanagan and 5 Nevada Supreme Court Justices completely fabricated an entire caseCARSON CITY — A trend of fewer traffic tickets being written by police around the state may be a boon for motorists, but it is creating a financial crisis for the Nevada Supreme Court.

Chief Justice James Hardesty recently told a panel of state lawmakers the court will go broke by May 1 if the Legislature does not provide emergency funding to keep it functioning.

The court receives millions of dollars each year for its budget from assessments on traffic and parking tickets that range from $30 to $120 per citation.

Nevada Supreme Court protest

Nevada Supreme Court protest

But the number of tickets written by law enforcement agencies around the state has been declining steadily, partly because state troopers have focused on violations more likely to lead to crashes. In 2010, there were 615,267 citations issued statewide. In 2014, that number fell to 484,913, a decline of more than 21 percent in a five-year period.

As a result, revenue from the assessments is dropping fast, too.

“If this is not addressed by May 1, the court will not have sufficient cash to operate,” Hardesty said in his testimony to lawmakers. “I believe the Legislature has a constitutional obligation to fund the judicial branch of government. Do you want me to close the judicial branch of government at the state level on May 1?”

The court is short $700,000 in its budget this year and needs a bailout from the general fund, Hardesty told a joint Senate Finance and Ways and Means subcommittee March 11. A bill to fund the shortfall should be introduced in the next few days.

State Sen. Pete Goicoechea, R-Eureka, asked Hardesty what the court could do cut back spending to reduce the deficit.

“There is absolutely nothing the Supreme Court can do with that,” Hardesty replied.

The court has made efforts to reduce spending, including keeping positions vacant, to help as much as possible, he said. The upcoming two-year court budget is also short by $1.4 million because of the lower assessment revenue, Hardesty said.

Total revenue to the court from the assessments was expected to reach $26.3 million in the upcoming two-year budget, but is now projected at $24.9 million, creating the $1.4 million shortfall. That shortfall will be made up partly by using court budget reserves, but another $700,000 will be needed from the general fund in the upcoming budget, too, Hardesty said.

As to why the number of citations is declining, Hardesty said courts have been told police are writing fewer tickets for traffic violations in every county. The Las Vegas Justice Court, for example, fell below 10,000 traffic cases a month three times in 2014. Total traffic filings in the court dropped to 168,852 in fiscal 2014 from 202,940 in 2013, a 17 percent drop, court statistics show.

“I’m not faulting law enforcement; either they are understaffed or they have changed policies,” Hardesty said. “Now with all due respect to the citizens of Nevada, I don’t think anyone is driving better. I think the truth is is that we’re seeing less traffic violations because law enforcement’s priorities have changed and it has changed dramatically.”

The Nevada Highway Patrol said its troopers have caught more people committing some offenses, such as drunken driving and cellphone use, but NHP citations are down overall. Troopers issued 222,935 citations in 2014, nearly 30,000 fewer than in 2012. That’s an 11 percent drop.

Part of the reason, police said, is the NHP Strategic Plan’s emphasis on violations that could cause crashes, including distracted driving and driving under the influence. Police also believe enforcement and the Zero Fatalities education program have changed drivers’ behavior, while completion of some major highway projects has made traffic move better.

The declining number of citations has implications for the budgets of state agencies beyond the Supreme Court. Revenue to the state and the court from the assessments are expected to reach just over $22 million a year in the new budget.

By contrast, the assessments brought in $30 million in fiscal 2010 and nearly $29 million in fiscal 2011, information provided by the court shows.

The drop in assessment revenue was originally projected at 3 percent, but is now expected to reach 10 percent in the coming budget, Hardesty said.

The decline is also affecting the state’s specialty courts, which are designed to keep offenders out of prison by offering treatment for drug and mental health issues, as well as services targeted at groups including veterans. The assessment drop and lower local funding add up to a $1.4 million shortfall for those courts, Hardesty said.

But Gov. Brian Sandoval has proposed in his budget filling that gap with $1.4 million in general funds. Sandoval has also proposed putting $3 million more in state general funds into the specialty courts each year, enough to treat another 800 to 900 people. Hardesty said the specialty courts have succeeded in diverting people from prison.

“They are huge to the success of the criminal justice system,” he said. “The default position is to incarcerate them.”

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900.

Corrupt Carson City DA Neil Rombardo and his butt-buddy Mark Krueger denied judgeship in Douglas County!!!

Three Finalists Selected For Opening In Ninth Judicial District

neil-rombardo1The Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection today named three nominees to fill an open seat in the Ninth Judicial District Court, Department 2, made vacant by the selection of Judge Michael Gibbons to the Nevada Court of Appeals.

The nominees were selected following interviews by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection February 24 and 25 in Carson City. The names and applications of the finalists have been sent to Governor Brian Sandoval, who will appoint a new judge from the list.

The Commission’s three nominees for the open seat, in alphabetical order, are:

  • Thomas W. Gregory, 45, Genoa, Douglas County District Attorney’s Office
  • Douglas R. Rands, 56, Reno, Rands, South and Gardner
  • David F. Sarnowski, 62, Carson City, Carson City Justice and Municipal Court

A total of 13 attorneys submitted applications for the vacancy. Applicants had to be Nevada attorneys with two years of residency and 10 years of legal experience.

Selection Process Was Open To The Public

As has been the rule since 2007, the Commission’s interviews were open to the public. A public comment period was provided to the public at the start of  the interview schedule and before the deliberations and voting on the selection of the nominees.mark-krueger-is-corrupt

In selecting the nominees, the Commission considered the applicants’ interviews along with information in comprehensive applications about education, law practice, business involvement, community involvement, and professional and personal conduct.  The Commission also considered letters of reference and public statements during the interview process.

The applications of the nominees, with the exceptions of medical records and personal identification information, are available on the Supreme Court of Nevada website at:http://www.nevadajudiciary.us/index.php/judicialselection.
Commission On Judicial Selection

The Commission on Judicial Selection is composed of 7 permanent members – the Supreme Court Chief Justice, three non-attorneys appointed by the Governor and three attorneys appointed by the State Bar of Nevada.  Neither the Governor nor the Bar may appoint more than two permanent members from the same political party, and cannot appoint two members from the same county.

For District Court vacancies, two temporary members are appointed from the judicial district where the vacancy occurs – a non-attorney by the Governor and an attorney by the State Bar – bringing the Commission membership to nine.

The Commission members are:

  • Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Hardesty, Chair.
  • Valerie Cooney, Carson City, past executive director of Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevada (State Bar appointee)
  • Jeffrey Gilbert, Henderson, veteran gaming executive (Governor appointee)
  • Jesse Gutierrez, Sparks, former executive director of Nevada Hispanic Services (Governor appointee)
  • Gregory Kamer, Las Vegas, with Kamer Zucker Abbott (State Bar appointee)
  • Jasmine Mehta, Carson City, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (State Bar appointee)
  • Leslie M. Williams, Schurz, Administrative Assistant for Washoe County Senior Services (Governor appointee)
  • Justina Alyce Caviglia, Minden, Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, (Temporary member)
  • Judy Keele, Gardnerville (Temporary member)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

State Court Administrator Robin Sweet
Administrative Office of the Courts
775-684-1717

 

Genoa resident only Douglas attorney among judge finalists

Tom Gregory

Tom Gregory

Carson City, Nev. — Only one Douglas County resident made the final cut in the search for Judge Michael Gibbons’ replacement on Wednesday.

Douglas County prosecutor Tom Gregory, 45, was selected by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection, along with Reno resident Douglas Rands and Carson City resident David Sarnowski.

All three names will go to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who will make the final decision.

There is no requirement that the appointee live in Douglas County, but if someone out of the county is selected, they must move here.

A total of 13 attorneys submitted applications for the vacancy. Applicants had to be Nevada attorneys with two years of residency and 10 years of legal experience.

The Commission’s interviews were open to the public. A public comment period was provided at the start of the interview schedule and before the deliberations and voting on the selection of the nominees.

In selecting the nominees, the commission considered the applicants’ interviews along with information in comprehensive applications about education, law practice, business involvement, community involvement, and professional and personal conduct. The commission also considered letters of reference and public statements during the interview process.

The applications of the nominees, with the exceptions of medical records and personal identification information, are available on the Supreme Court of Nevada website at:http://www.nevadajudiciary.us/index.php/judicialselection.

The commission is composed of seven permanent members – the Supreme Court Chief Justice, three nonattorneys appointed by the governor and three attorneys appointed by the State Bar of Nevada.

Neither the Governor nor the Bar may appoint more than two permanent members from the same political party, and cannot appoint two members from the same county.

For District Court vacancies, two temporary members are appointed from the judicial district where the vacancy occurs – a nonattorney by the governor and an attorney by the State Bar – bringing the Commission membership to nine.

The Commission members are:

Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Hardesty, Chair.

Valerie Cooney, Carson City, past executive director of Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevada (State Bar appointee)

Jeffrey Gilbert, Henderson, veteran gaming executive (Governor appointee)

Jesse Gutierrez, Sparks, former executive director of Nevada Hispanic Services (Governor appointee)

Gregory Kamer, Las Vegas, with Kamer Zucker Abbott (State Bar appointee)

Jasmine Mehta, Carson City, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (State Bar appointee)

Leslie M. Williams, Schurz, Administrative Assistant for Washoe County Senior Services (Governor appointee)

Justina Alyce Caviglia, Minden, Douglas County District Attorney’s Office, (Temporary member)

Judy Keele, Gardnerville (Temporary member)

Finalist Biographies

Thomas W. Gregory, 45, has worked for the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office since January 2007. He was promoted to chief deputy district attorney in the criminal division in 2009.

During 2014, Gregory processed three murder cases, including the Tatiana Leibel murder trial, which resulted in a conviction earlier this month. In his application, he said he developed a protocol for telephonic search warrants.

Before coming to the district attorney’s office, Gregory, a native Nevadan, was in private practice for four years in Reno. He served as a deputy district attorney in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office from 1996 to 2003. He also served in the White Pine County District Attorney’s Office.

Gregory clerked for district judges Tom Perkins and Gibbons.

He is a 1987 graduate of Douglas High School and a 1991 graduate of the University of the Pacific. He graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 1994. During law school he worked for Noel Manoukian his first summer and for U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben in the second.

Gregory said arguing the case of Meisler v. State was one of the most enjoyable in his career.

He is married to attorney Cynthea Gregory, who is in the civil division of the District Attorney’s Office. His parents are Minden residents Darlene and Jerry Gregory.

Douglas R. Rands, 56, has been a partner in the law firm Rands, South and Gardner for the past 17 years. He is a 26-year Nevada resident.

He had previously worked for the law firm Perry and Spann for nine years. He left to form his own firm.

He graduated from Union Endicott High School in New York in 1977. He received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Brigham Young University in 1984. He graduated from J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University in the top third of his class in 1987.

He was admitted to the state bars of Nevada and Utah in 1988.

According to his application, 90 percent of his litigation over the past five years has been civil.

He listed Palmer v. Del Webb’s High Sierra as his most significant case, which was his first argument before the Nevada Supreme Court. It was an appeal of a decision rendered by Douglas County District Judge Norm Robison, who held the seat Rands is now seeking.

In his statement, Rands said his wife is looking forward to moving to Douglas County.

David F. Sarnowski, 62, is not currently practicing law, but serves as a part-time justice of the peace and municipal court judge in Carson City.

Sarnowski served as executive director of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline and the Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics for 11 years, retiring in 2013 after 32 years of state service. He’d served with the Nevada Attorney General’s office for 18 years. He was chief deputy attorney general of the criminal division until 2002.

He is a native Nevadan and a 1970 graduate of Mineral County High School. He graduated in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in history from Santa Clara University in California. He received his law degree in 1981 from Santa Clara University Law School.

He served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and the Nevada Army National Guard retiring after 30 years with the rank of colonel. Sarnowski was admitted to the state

He received a master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in 2000. He also served as the commander of the Capitol American Legion Post for three years.

His most significant case was Robert Michenfelder v. Sumner before the U.S. District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the mid-1980s.

Sarnowski defended Nevada Department of Prisons employees in the case.

Nevada Supreme Court opens door to refilling charges in Carson City sex assault case

Nevada Supreme Court

Nevada Supreme Court

The Nevada Supreme Court this week modified a September order, opening the door for the Carson City District Attorney’s Office to refile charges in a child sexual assault case.

The high court last year upheld the dismissal of 10 counts of sexual assault involving two sisters who, at the time, were under the age of 10. The court agreed with Carson District Judge James Wilson the charges didn’t give defendant Jeffrey Volosin enough information about when the crimes occurred to defend himself.

The criminal information states South Lake Tahoe investigators discovered the crimes, turning up allegations the girls were abused while living in Carson City and the abuse occurred when one was aged 7-9 and the other from ages 6-15.

Wilson ruled the charges were so vague they violated the defendant’s 6th Amendment rights to due process because they didn’t give him anywhere near enough information to defend himself.

The original high-court decision dismissed the charges “with prejudice,” meaning they couldn’t be brought back. The original order charged the Carson DA’s office “appears to have filed the (charges) without performing any independent investigation.”

But the court this week amended that ruling, removing the words “with prejudice” from several paragraphs in the original order.

That effectively gives the Carson DA’s office the opportunity to bring the charges back by refilling the criminal information with more details and specifics to support the charges.

While the Carson City charges remain in limbo following the latest ruling, Volosin faces an 11-count complaint filed by the Eldorado County DA’s office charging similar offenses including lewdness with a child and sex acts with a person under age 16.

13 apply for Nevada’s Ninth Judicial District seat – The list of applicants includes several well known lawyers from the Carson-Douglas area including former corrupt Carson District Attorney Neil Rombardo and his corrupt Assistant DA Mark Krueger.

NEIL ROMBARDO TAKES IT UP THE ASS

A total of 13 lawyers have applied for the Ninth Judicial District seat vacated by Michael Gibbons.

Gibbons left the post after being named to the newly-created Intermediate Appellate Court.

The list of applicants includes several well known lawyers from the Carson-Douglas area including former SCANDALOUS Carson District Attorney Neil Rombardo and his CORRUPT Assistant DA Mark Krueger.Carson City District Attorney Mark Krueger

Also on the list is former director of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, Caren Cafferata-Jenkins, former head of the state Ethics Commission.

The appointment is open to all Nevada lawyers with at least two years residency in the state and 10 years of legal experience.

The others who applied are Deputy AG Andrea Barraclough, Evan Beavers of the state Business and Industry Department, Las Vegas lawyer Chris Davis, Tom Gregory and Doug Ritchie of the Douglas DA’s office, James Hales of Minden, Cassandra Jones of Gardnerville and Doug Rands of Reno.

The Judicial Selection Commission will now conduct background investigations, accept public comment and interview the candidates.

The commission then recommends three finalists to the governor who makes the final decision on who to appoint.

The appointee serves until the next General Election when he or she must run for the office to keep it.

38 Applications Received by the Judicial Selection Commission for Vacancies in 8th and 9th Judicial Districts.

The Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection has received 38 applications for consideration to fill three vacancies in the Eighth and Ninth Judicial District Courts resulting from the appointment of Judges Michael P. Gibbons, Abbi Silver, and Jerome T. Tao to the Nevada Court of Appeals.The applicants for open seats in the Eighth Judicial District are:• Karl Wesley Armstrong, 56, Las Vegas, with Ray Lego & Associates
• Bonnie A. Bulla, 52, Las Vegas, with the Eighth Judicial District Court
• Mary F. Chapman, 51, Las Vegas, with Law Office of Mary F. Chapman, Ltd.
• Chris W. Davis, 54, Las Vegas, with Chris Davis, Esq.1
• Sandra K. DiGiacomo, 45, Henderson, with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office
• Craig B. Friedberg, 57, Las Vegas, with Law Office of Craig B. Friedberg, Esq.
• Bruce L. Gale, 59, Las Vegas, with Bruce L. Gale, Esq.
• Mark L. Gentile, 55, Las Vegas, with Gentile Law Group
• Christine Mary Guerci-Nyhus, 54, Las Vegas, with the State of Nevada Office of
Attorney General
• Joseph Paul Hardy, Jr., 42, Henderson, with Gordon & Rees
• William C. Horne, 52, Las Vegas, with the Law Office of William C. Horne, LLC
• Louis Eric Johnson, 54, Las Vegas, with U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada
• Eric G. Jorgenson, 58, Las Vegas, with Eric G. Jorgenson, Esq.
• Jacquelyn S. Leleu, 40, Las Vegas, with McDonald Carano Wilson LLP
• Anat Rachel Levy, 52, Las Vegas, with Anat Levy & Associates
• Clifford William Marcek, 54, Las Vegas, with Cliff W. Marcek, PC
• Judge Janiece S. Marshall, 52, Las Vegas, with the Las Vegas Township Justice Court
• Mary D. Perry, 51, Las Vegas, with the Law Office of Mary D. Perry, LLC
• Chris Thomas Rasmussen, 44, Las Vegas, with Rasmussen & Kang, LLC
• David Joseph Rivers II, 68, Las Vegas, with the Law Office of David J. Rivers, LLC
• William S. Skupa, 69, Las Vegas, with William S. Skupa, Esq.
• Kevin Charles Speed, 40, Las Vegas, with the Clark County Public Defender’s Office
• Robert P. Spretnak, 54, Las Vegas, with Law Offices of Robert P. Spretnak
• John G. Watkins, 67, Las Vegas, with the Law Office of John G. Watkins, Esq.
• Telia U. Williams, 43, Las Vegas, with Telia Law
1 Applicant has applied for open seats in the Eighth and Ninth Judicial Districts.

The applicants for open seat in the Ninth Judicial District are:

• Andrea Rachiele Barraclough, 40, Carson City, with the State of Nevada Office of
Attorney General
• Evan Bradley Beavers, 59, Minden, with the State of Nevada Department of Business and Industry
• Chris W. Davis, 54, Las Vegas, with Chris Davis, Esq. 1
• Caren Cafferata-Jenkins, 56, Carson City, with Nevada Commission on Ethics
• Thomas Wayne Gregory, 45, Genoa, with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office
• James R. Hales, 55, Minden, with Rowe Hales Yturbide, LLP
• Cassandra G. Jones, 35, Gardnerville, with the Heritage Law Group, PC
• Mark John Krueger, 45, Carson City, with the Carson City District Attorney’s Office
• Derrick Marcelo Lopez, 53, Minden, with Law Office of Derrick M. Lopez
• Douglas Reed Rands, 56, Reno, with Rands, South and Gardner
• Douglas Verl Ritchie, 47, Minden, with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office
• Neil Anthony Rombardo, 42, Carson City, with the State of Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation, Employment Security Division
• David Francis Sarnowski, 62, Carson City, with the Carson City Justice and Municipal Court

1 Applicant has applied for open seats in the Eighth and Ninth Judicial Districts.

The appointment process was open to all Nevada attorneys with two years of residency and 10 years of legal experience. The next step is for the Commission to conduct background investigations, accept public comment, and interview each of the applicants.

The applications, with the exceptions of medical records and personal identification information, are available on the Supreme Court of Nevada website at: http://www.nevadajudiciary.us/index.php/judicialselection.

The Commission invites written public comments about the qualifications of the applicants. Comments regarding the applicants in the Ninth Judicial District should be submitted in writing by February 13, 2015. Comments concerning the applicants in the Eighth Judicial District should be submitted in writing by March 5, 2015.

Send written comments to:

rsweet@nvcourts.nv.gov

Robin Sweet
Secretary, Commission on Judicial Selection
Nevada Supreme Court
201 S. Carson St., Suite 250
Carson City, Nevada, 89701

 

Greetings Mr. Sweet:

I strongly oppose both Neil Rombardo and Mark Krueger for Eighth Judicial District Court Judge based on the following:
1.  Neil Rombardo and Mark Krueger filed false criminal charges against me Todd “Ty” Robben and all charges were dismissed by Douglas DA Mark Jackson who acted as a “special prosecutor” since  Neil Rombardo and Mark Krueger were disqualified in the process. I am now suing  Neil Rombardo and Mark Krueger in federal court. See the details here: Robben vs Carson City et al
See news stories here:
3. Here’s what Neil Rombardo’s forer DA’s think of him
Anonymous said…

 

Looks like a mass exudus from the carson city DA’s office. Employees are sick of Rombardo’s temper tantrums. Plus, the dude is getting divorced because he screwed one of his deputies.

See more: http://wildwildlaw.blogspot.com/2010/01/friday-open-thread.html

4. The Public Defender in Carson City had problems with Neil Rombardo and Mark Krueger and campaigned for the new Carson City DA Jason Woodbury. Neil Rombardo and Mark Krueger attempted to get rid of the Carson City Public Defender’s office (A State agency). Neil Rombardo and Mark Krueger did not work well with the Public Defender and other defense lawyers which resulted in more court dates, motions and higher costs and time efficiency.

5. The voters of Carson City did not elect Mark Krueger as DA in 2014. Mark Krueger has lost every election he ran for in Carson City. I hear that the former assistant DA, Mark Krueger, actually sued his own board of County Commissioners during his time as Assistant DA in Lyon County because they refused to give employees in the DAs office a pay raise, although wages had been frozen for every County employee, regardless of department. Krueger has also run for Justice of the Peace and District Court Judge in Carson City and lost. I am not sure of his motive to become DA, other than to be in a position of power. I just think that some of these issues need to be brought to light so that voters can make a well informed decision come election time.

A key issue in the battle to become Carson City’s next district attorney is a high staff turnover rate in the office.

“Over the past few years, I’ve just been kind of watching what’s happening in the DA’s office and it struck me Carson City could be better served,” Jason Woodbury said in an interview this week.

He said since 2007 the 21-person office has had 39 people leave.

“Some turnover is inevitable but this alarming rate means something is wrong,” Woodbury said. “The truth is Carson City has lost a lot of good people because the District Attorney’s office has not been a healthy place to work in recent years.”

He pointed to what he termed “bickering” between the DA’s staff and the state Public Defender’s office saying that would come to an end if he’s elected.

Assistant DA Mark Krueger, who is seeking the post being vacated by Neil Rombardo, said Woodbury is completely misreading the reason for the turnover in the DA’s office.

He said 10 of the 39 people left when the office closed down the child support unit. He said two lawyers went on to become judges including Justice of the Peace Tom Armstrong and one — Gerald Gardner — to become chief of staff to Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Several others went to Washoe and Douglas counties or the Attorney General’s office for higher pay and broader opportunities. A half dozen more moved out of the area, he said.

“Most of them left for better and different opportunities,” Krueger said, adding nearly all of that happened before he was hired two years ago.

Krueger said Woodbury seems to be running against Rombardo, not him.

Asked about that, Woodbury said Krueger has been assistant DA for a couple of years now, “long enough to give you an idea what an office under his leadership would look like.”

“Neil’s the DA but I think Krueger owns as much of the issues at this point,” he said.

In good part, the friction between the State Public Defender’s Office and the DA’s office is the fact Rombardo recommended essentially firing the state PDs and having the county set up its own public defenders staff.

Woodbury said Rombardo shouldn’t be offering an opinion about that.

“I think it’s completely inappropriate for the DA to take a position on how defense services are provided to indigent people in Carson City,” he said. “He’ll get asked a legal question in a meeting and he’ll start giving policy advice.”

Rombardo said he brought the issue to the Board of Supervisors because his office, like the rest of Carson City’s departments, was being asked to cut the budget 10 percent, and “I looked at the Public Defender and they were asking for a budget increase.”

Rombardo said a consultant confirmed his belief Carson City was paying a disproportionate share of the state PD’s budget and could save hundreds of thousands of dollars by getting rid of the state PD. The state PD office is funded by the counties that use the service.

The Board of Supervisors rejected the idea but it didn’t make for good relations between Rombardo’s staff and the Public Defender’s staff. Those relations are bad enough members of the PD staff have volunteered in Woodbury’s campaign, even manning his booth at events.

Both men have about the same amount of legal experience although Woodbury’s is mostly in the private sector and Krueger’s as a public lawyer.

•••

Krueger has practiced law 15 years beginning as law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Bill Maupin, then as clerk for District Judges Mike Fondi and Bill Maddox. He was in the Attorney General’s office from 2001-2008 mostly handling civil litigation, then assistant DA in Lyon County for six years before coming to Carson as assistant two years ago.

He said he has extensive criminal experience — 40 jury trials including some of Carson City’s biggest in the past two years — a half dozen years of civil experience at the AG’s office and, through Lyon County, experience in handling the budget of a DA’s office.

“When I went into being the Assistant DA in Lyon County, I saw what you can do for the community to help protect it,” he said. “What it means to get justice. It means something to victims, means something to witnesses. At the end of the day when we get a resolution for them, they feel comforted.”

He said the DA has to be willing to prosecute cases and not let them slide through the cracks. He said David Stone, convicted last week of raping a 12-year-old boy, was first brought to the DA’s attention in 2006 before Rombardo was in the office when a mother complained her son was a victim.

“Had this office in 2006 just filed charges on the first victim that came forward and reported it, we wouldn’t have had four other known victims,” he said.

Krueger said he’s proud of the office’s victims and witness services program, which he said he has helped expand since arriving in Carson City.

“What I feel I’ve been able to accomplish in the last two years is bringing the whole office together as a team and really making it so that we try cases as a team, make decisions about prosecutions and how to help people as a team,” he said.

He said the office has “become a really happy place to work — people are excited about their jobs.”

Krueger said part of that is the training he has implemented — including having a team prosecute cases.

Krueger said he also has worked with sheriff’s investigators particularly to improve their interview skills.

He said he wants to further develop the business protection program to help the community stop embezzlement and other such crimes from happening in the first place.

Krueger said there will be changes if he’s elected: “I think the structure is good for the most part. But as the economy changes, your needs for your clients change. The needs of the supervisors, the city manager, department heads. You have to be flexible in the needs for your clients.”

•••

Woodbury has practiced 16 years, beginning with the Carson DA’s office from 1999-2003. Since then, he has been primarily in business litigation.

He said he sees things in the office, “that need to be improved.”

“I want to talk to the folks there and find out what is in that office that’s making good people leave,” he said.

As for the office’s civil duties, he said: “When the supervisors ask a legal question or need legal guidance they should get it.

“We need to do a better job of giving the Board of Supervisors legal guidance and leave the policy decisions to them.”

He said he think’s its important the DA be someone with private practice experience.

“I think the judgment you get from representing big business, small business and individuals out in private practice is incredibly valuable in making the decisions you have to make as district attorney.”

He said despite his relatively brief tenure with the DA’s office, he has experience handling criminal cases including child sex cases and a murder case as well as cases before the Nevada Supreme Court.

“I don’t have any burning desire to be in politics,” Woodbury said. “If the DA’s office was running smoothly and things were going along well and I thought they were serving the community well, I wouldn’t run. But that’s not the case.”

He said everyone needs to follow a professional code: “When they’re just bickering because they don’t like the person on the other side or don’t respect the person on the other side, we’re just wasting effort on things that don’t have any place in a professional office.”

“In conjunction with retaining good people in the office, I think you’re going to see significant improvement in the work quality within the office,” Woodbury said.

He said the current office “has got good people.”

He also said Neil was “a good change” following a long tenure as DA by Noel Waters. But he said he thinks electing him would be another good change.

“I think he has done a number of admirable things with the office,” Woodbury said citing the victims and witness services program. “I think the office needs improvement but I will say I’m not going to change things just for the sake of changing them because there are good things that have happened.”

Early voting begins Saturday. The district attorney’s office is a nonpartisan office. The winner will serve a 4-year term.

source: http://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/13396108-113/office-woodbury-krueger-carson

Thank You,

-Ty Robben

 

 

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Chief Justice James W. Hardesty announced interviews to fill the vacancy in the Ninth Judicial District are tentatively scheduled for the week of February 23, 2015 at the Nevada Supreme Court in Carson City, and will be open to the public. In addition, interviews to fill the two vacant positions in the Eighth Judicial District are tentatively scheduled for the week of March 16, at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, and will be open to the public.

The Commission will then deliberate and nominate three finalists for each open seat. Those names will be submitted to Governor Brian Sandoval for the appointment.

The Commission is composed of seven permanent members – the Supreme Court Chief Justice, three non-attorneys appointed by the Governor, and three attorneys appointed by the State Bar of Nevada. Neither the Governor nor the State Bar may appoint more than two permanent members from the same political party, and cannot appoint two members from the same county.

For District Court vacancies, two temporary members are appointed from the judicial district where the vacancy occurs – a non-attorney by the Governor and an attorney by the State Bar – bringing the Commission membership to nine.

Gambling on Trial – Anderson v. McGill Club

nevada supreme courtIn 1928, the Nevada Supreme Court faced a novel legal question arising out of a familiar human weakness. In the McGill case, Gladys Anderson asked the high Court to hold the McGill Club legally liable for the damage done to her marriage by her husband’s chronic gambling and for the money her husband had lost at the McGill Club playing stud poker.

Calling the lawsuit “a novelty in both form and substance,” Chief Justice Sanders summed up the Court’s feelings on the matter in one sentence: “A husband is exposed to temptations, enticements and allurements of the world, which easily withdraw him from the society of his wife, and the wife had reason to expect all of these things when she entered the marriage relation, and her right to society had all these conditions.” In a more pragmatic vein, Justice Sanders also wrote that the consequence of ruling in favor of the plaintiff would create ” a most fruitful source of litigation.” Unfortunately, Gladys Anderson’s luck with the law was not to improve. Just four years later, in 1931, the state legislature legalized gambling in Nevada.

Narrated by Cheryl A. Lau. Cheryl Lau’s election to the position of Nevada’s Secretary of State in 1990 continued a tradition of service in the state she began while serving as a Nevada Deputy Attorney General. As Secretary of State (1991-1995) Lau demonstrated a similar commitment to the State of Nevada and its issues. She served on and chaired the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Cheryl Lau dedicated herself to women’s issues as a member of the Women Executives in State Government and as Vice-Chair of the Nevada Women’s Commission. On the national level, Cheryl was Vice-Chair of the 1992 Republican National Platform Committee.

How the new state appeals court will work

nv appeal court

Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice James W. Hardesty administers the oath of office to newly appointed Court of Appeals Judges Michael P. Gibbons, Abbi Silver, and Jerome T. Tao.

Former Douglas County District Judge Michael P. Gibbons has been selected as the first chief judge of Nevada’s new appellate court.

Newly selected Court of Appeals judges Jerome T. Tao, Gibbons and Abbi Silver took the oath of office on Monday in a ceremony held in the courtroom of the Nevada Supreme Court in Carson City.

The judges were joined by Chief Justice James W. Hardesty, the justices of the Supreme Court and family in a historic ceremony signifying the start of a new era in Nevada justice.

The Court of Appeals adds an appellate court to Nevada’s judiciary with the aim of reducing a sizeable backlog in appellate cases and, eventually, shortening the time for resolution of all appeals in Nevada.

Chief Judge Gibbons will preside over the proceedings of the Court of Appeals and speak publicly for the court.

Today, the Court of Appeals will receive its initial assignment of 167 cases from Hardesty. The judges of the Court of Appeals will begin reviewing these cases for resolution or hearing within the next 90-120 days.

The judges are scheduled this week for education and training related to the processes and procedures of the Court, a tour of the Supreme Court Law Library and meetings with the Court Clerk and the Administrative Office of the Courts, to review court operations, technology, and the hiring of judicial staff.

A formal judicial investiture for the Court of Appeals has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 12 at the Carson City Community Center.

Will it really work?

Without any doubt, I knew the first three judges on the new Nevada Court of Appeals would consist of a minority, a woman and one white male. One would be from Northern Nevada, two from Las Vegas. All would be well qualified. It would be the politically astute thing for Gov. Brian Sandoval to do. He wouldn’t pick anyone not capable of performing well because it would reflect badly on him.

For once, I’m correct.

The three appellate judges sworn in Monday were all sitting district court judges:

— Department 1: Jerome Tao, 46, an Asian-American, a Democrat and former speechwriter for U.S. Sen. Harry Reid. In this department, the screening panel had also recommended Washoe County District Judge David Hardy and Las Vegas attorney Kirby Smith.

— Department 2: Michael Gibbons, 58, a Republican and a Douglas County district judge for 20 years. He’s also brother to Nevada Supreme Court Justice Mark Gibbons. His competitors were Las Vegas attorney Thomas Beatty and Clark County District Judge Susan Johnson.

— Department 3: Abbi Silver, 49, a Republican who has won election to three different courts. Her rivals for the spot were retiring District Judge Allan Earl, who wanted to top off his career by serving two years on this historic first court, and Northern Nevada attorney Joan Wright.

The Commission on Judicial Selection started with a list of 36 people vying for three seats. Each had to file for a specific department. The seven-member panel recommended their top three choices in each department, and those were the only options Sandoval had. He interviewed each of the nine personally before making his choices.

With nine qualified candidates, Sandoval, a former federal judge himself with experience about the qualities of a good judge, had to make political choices as well.

Tao was appointed to the District Court by Sandoval in 2011, so he had already been vetted by the GOP governor. Plus he received a strong retention rating of 86 percent in the Review-Journal’s 2013 “Judging the Judges” survey he has been a prosecutor, public defender, civil trial attorney and Reid’s speechwriter. Reid considered him for a federal judgeship in 2009, and in 2004 Tao failed as a candidate when he tried to unseat then-County Commissioner Chip Maxfield.

As a minority and a Democrat, he’s a two-fer.

Michael Gibbons was the only Northern Nevada judge competing in Department 2, which put him in the catbird’s seat because the plan all along was for the three judges to be sworn in Jan. 5 and get right to work. (As I was interviewing Chief Justice James Hardesty for the column, the threes were being trained on their new computers in Carson City). A District Court judge for 20 years, Gibbons was named the chief judge on the Court of Appeals. His community activism helped.

The only downside with Gibbons is that he and his brother look much alike, and it’s inevitable that photos of them will mistake one for the other.

So if he’s the white, male judge from Northern Nevada, that fills that single slot. So what female from Southern Nevada is left?

Silver is the last woman standing that fits that description in her group. She has a 65 percent retention rating from attorneys participating in “Judging the Judges.” As a prosecutor, she convicted the stalkers of Reid, Steve Wynn, comic Jerry Lewis, former Sheriff Jerry Keller and former Sen. John Ensign. She was elected to the Las Vegas Municipal Court in 2003, the Las Vegas Justice Court in 2005 and to the District Court in 2009 and 2014.

All three will have to run again in two years. This court is considered a possible stepping stone to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Speed was a priority in the selection. Both Hardesty and Sandoval wanted judges who could get to work quickly. That wish seemed to eliminate some attorneys who might need time to wind down a law practice and favor incumbent judges.

Fifty-four percent of the voters approved the new court on Nov. 4, and the screening panel had the nine names forwarded to Sandoval by Dec. 4. He announced his choices Dec. 17, and in just two months, the court has become a reality.

“What we’ve accomplished is pretty remarkable.,” said Justice Hardesty, one of the leading advocates for the appeals court. “I believe we are not only being very thrifty with what we decided to do, but believe we’re being very consistent with what we told voters in proposal.”

Voters were told the new court would mean faster decisions in court cases. The three judges will be under the spotlight to make sure that actually happens.

While the overall operating cost is estimated to be $1.5 million a year, that will come out of the existing Supreme Court budget.

The appeals judges will have offices in the Regional Justice Center as well as in the Supreme Court Building in Carson City, since they will be hearing cases from all over the state. The existing courtroom on the 17th floor in Las Vegas will be used, and there will be some remodeling, about $450,000 worth, to provide offices for the judges, their executive assistants and two law clerks each.

Hardesty said there is existing space for the new judges and their staffs in both Las Vegas and Carson City. “It requires us to move a few walls.” The court already budgeted $70,000 for office furniture in Las Vegas and less than $21,000 for additional computers.

By May 1, he hopes to have everyone situated north and south.

Hardesty has already assigned 167 cases to be decided by the Court of Appeals. The intent is for the appeals court cases to never end up in the Supreme Court, unless for some reason they are assigned there first. So there won’t be two appeal stages, just one.

The types of cases going to the Court of Appeals is a long list but includes certain death penalty cases, cases involving judicial discipline, election questions, attorney discipline, disputes between branches of governments, business court cases, termination of parental rights and others. The appeals court is expected to hear about one-third of all the cases filed.

Sandoval now will be able to choose three more district court judges to replace the three he chose, using the same process of a screening panel forwarding him three names for each seat. Since I favor merit selection and retention elections over election of judges, I’m fine with that.

But I’m not so innocent that I don’t know that when the final decisions are made, politics will play a role. And I’m fine with that, too.

Only Sandoval knows what went on in his decision-making. But trust me, politics and a commitment to diversity on the bench played a role. That’s the reality of today’s world. And yesterday’s.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Thursdays. Email her at jmorrison@reviewjournal.com or leave a message at 702-383-0275. Find her on Twitter @janeannmorrison.

Nevada Court of Appeals set to begin work Monday

A new Nevada state Court of Appeals is gearing up to begin work Monday with three appointees.

Former state district court judges Jerome Tao and Abbi Silver from Las Vegas and Michael Patrick Gibbons from Minden were elevated to the new court by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Nevada had been one of 10 states in the nation without an intermediate appellate court until voters in November amended the state constitution.

All civil and criminal appeals from the state’s more than 80 district courts will still go to the seven-member Nevada Supreme Court.

The high court is on pace to render about 2,300 rulings this year and has a backlog of more than 2,100 cases.

The justices will assign or “push down” about 700 to 800 cases a year to the Court of Appeals.

Nevada Justices order study of Nevada prison diets

CARSON CITY — A panel of the Nevada Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower district court and ordered it to compel the state’s chief medical officer to examine and report on the nutritional adequacy of the diet of prison inmates as required by state law.

The case was brought by Robert Leslie Stockmeier, an inmate at Lovelock Correctional Center in Northern Nevada, who said state Health Officer Tracey Green was not fulfilling her duties to review inmate diets and report her findings to the state Board of Prison Commissioners.

A Carson City District Court dismissed Stockmeier’s case, but a three-member panel of the Supreme Court reversed that decision, finding that Green’s examination of inmate diets and her resulting report to the board “fell well short of what was required.”

Green’s report included no analysis of the diets of general population inmates, addressed diets at only one of Nevada’s correctional facilities, and generally lacked any indication as to how the required examination was conducted, said Justice Michael Cherry in the decision.

The court said Green relied on a single 2011 report to support her position that she complied with the law, but Cherry said that report undermined her position.

“Green’s report primarily focuses on issues other than inmate diets, and the limited materials included in the report regarding this subject provide no information on, or analysis of, the nutritional adequacy of the general population diets,” the decision said.

“Indeed, there is nothing in the report to even indicate that Green or her staff actually examined the diets served to the general inmate population,” Cherry said.

“The report’s only reference to general population diets is a notation regarding the Lovelock Correctional Center indicating that a dietitian ‘had never been to the (Lovelock) correctional center and (had) only reviewed menus for nutritional adequacy.’”

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900. Find him on Twitter: @seanw801.

James Hardesty will become chief justice of Nevada Supreme Kangaroo Court

Nevada Supreme Court

Nevada Supreme Court

James Hardesty will assume the title of Chief Justice of the Nevada Supreme Court with the new year.

Hardesty takes over from Justice Mark Gibbons in the post, which rotates among the justices each year. Justices become eligible to sit as chief during the final two years of their six-year terms.

Hardesty previously served as chief in 2009.

The chief justice presides when the full court hears cases and chairs the Commission on Judicial Selection and Judicial Council of the State of Nevada. He also presents the court’s proposed budget before the Nevada Legislature and gives lawmakers the biennial report on the State of the Judiciary.

Two Vegas judges appointed to new state court of appeals

Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday named Jerome “Jerry” Tao, Michael Patrick Gibbons and Abbi Silver as inaugural appointments to the newly created Nevada Court of Appeals.

The three were among nine finalists recommended by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection.

“I was incredibly impressed by all of the finalists for the Nevada Court of Appeals,” Sandoval said. “This was a difficult decision due to the number of accomplished and qualified applicants. I am confident that Jerry Tao, Michael Gibbons and Abbi Silver will work tirelessly to build this new court swiftly and smoothly. These fine individuals will refine and enhance Nevada’s system of jurisprudence.”

Tao currently serves as a Clark County district judge. He also is a former prosecutor and public defender.

Silver is a Clark County district judge and a former prosecutor.

Gibbons is a Douglas County district judge and a former prosecutor.

Silver, who also has served as a judge in Las Vegas Municipal and Justice courts, said she was on the bench, overseeing a post-conviction hearing, when she received the governor’s call.

“I’m so excited to be a part of history here in Nevada,” Silver said. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of handling a portion of that overwhelming caseload of the Nevada Supreme Court.”

Tao said he was surprised by the appointment.

“There were some really excellent candidates,” he said. “Any one of them would have made an excellent judge.”

He believes serving on the appellate court presents an opportunity to assist the high court and help shape state law, “and as a judge, you can’t ask for more than that.”

The judges are expected to move into their new offices by Jan. 5 and start hearing cases that week.

“This is a court that Nevada has needed for a long time,” Tao said. “Justice delayed is justice denied. That’s a saying, but it’s also a very real thing here in Nevada.”

A group of senior judges, as well as sitting judges, will be assigned to cover Clark County District Court caseloads for Silver and Tao.

At the close of a ceremony for retiring judges in the Regional Justice Center on Wednesday, David Barker, who will take over as chief district judge next month, acknowledged Silver and Tao.

“Remember, come from the perspective that we’ve done it right,” he joked.

Contact reporter David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Find him on Twitter: @randompoker

OPINION: NEVADA SUPREME COURT HAS CHANCE TO UPHOLD FREE SPEECH

shutterstock_24902143

It drives me to distraction when smart lawyers try to peel away tiny layers of the law with a scalpel instead of bashing it with a sledgehammer.

That’s what the attorney for Citizen Outreach did recently before the Nevada Supreme Court. He argued that fliers sent out by the group in 2010 did not trip over the state lawrequiring “express advocacy” groups to file spending reports and disclose donors.

In 2013 the group was fined $10,000 plus $7,600 in costs by Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell for failing to report the source of the donors for the expense of the fliers.

Attorney Allen Dickerson said fliers critical of then-Assemblyman/firefighter John Oceguera as a double-dipper and big spender did not contain the “magic words” that would trigger a legal requirement for disclosure. The “magic words” concept comes from the U.S. Supreme Court case of Buckley v. Valeo that held disclosure could be required if words such as “vote for” or “elect,” “support,” “cast your ballot for” are used in the message.

Deputy Attorney General Kevin Benson, suing on behalf of Secretary of State Ross Miller, said the state law doesn’t require the use of “magic words” and the entire context should be examined for intent.

Nevada Revised Statute 294A.140 requires anyone who spends a certain amount of money for or against a candidate to file with the secretary of state the names and addresses of contributors.

The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law abridging free speech and free press. The 14th Amendment extends this prohibition to the states.

Thus, Buckely v. Valeo is the Supreme Court’s interpretation of how political speech can be abridged by requiring paperwork and forced disclosure of donors who would otherwise choose to remain anonymous.

But this is Nevada and we have our own Constitution in which Article 1, Section 9 says: “Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.”

NRS 294 clearly restrains and abridges. Buckley v. Valeo is irrelevant.

You don’t need to turn Talmudic scholar and pore over the nuances for just how the Buckley court conjured up from the bottom of a top hat a handful of “magic words” that may be abridged under the First Amendment, any more than you would have to turn to U.S. high court rulings on the 16th Amendment to interpret how the Nevada Constitution bans an income tax.

The words are clear and unambiguous — “no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press” — and thus any state law that does so violates the state Constitution and is null and void from inception. A $10,000 fine in any dictionary is a restraint — barrier, check, coercion, compulsion, constraint, control, curb, deterrence, duress, force, inhibition, limitation, manacle, prevention, prohibition, repression, restriction, suppression, etc.

This is not the first time free-speech-hating Ross Miller, who just lost an election bid for state attorney general of all things, has had groups prosecuted for speaking up.

Back in 2010 the target of the thought police was a Virginia-based organization called Alliance for America’s Future, which was running ads supportive of the candidacy of Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval.

A sympathetic Carson City judge shook out the Bill of Rights and discovered within its folds some brand new rights never dreamt of by the Founders. Judge James E. Wilson Jr. discovered the inalienable right to not be duped.

“Nevadans have a right to know who is behind election advertising,” Judge Wilson explained to us peons who were under the mistaken impression that the Federalist and Anti-Federalist papers, as well as “Common Sense,” were penned anonymously. “Continued violation of the statutes and depriving Nevadans of information about who is behind its election advertising will cause irreparable harm as voting will be influenced by unknown persons and voters will not have, through the proper channel, i.e., the Secretary (of State) information they need to determine what weight to give the advertising. Compensatory relief cannot compensate for this type of harm.”

Apparently there is a right to drag more information out of a speaker than the speaker wishes to convey, because voters are too stupid to evaluate anonymous speech for themselves. Compelled speech is not free speech.

So, the final authority in Nevada should be the state’s own Constitution, but, for sake of argument, and that is what this is, let’s turn to a better U.S. Supreme Court case to cite, if you insist, which would be McIntyre v. Ohio.

In 1988, Margaret McIntyre was fined $100 for distributing leaflets opposing a school tax levy at a public meeting in Westerville, Ohio. She had violated a state law prohibiting unsigned leaflets.

In declaring the Ohio law unconstitutional, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote:

“Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. … It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation — and their ideas from suppression — at the hand of an intolerant society.”

Then there is U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent in Citizens United v. FEC.

Justice Thomas exposed the illogical nature of the court’s half measure when it comes to free speech by non-candidates and their right to do so anonymously:

“Irony aside, the Court’s promise that as-applied challenges will adequately protect speech is a hollow assurance. Now more than ever, (the law) will chill protected speech because — as California voters can attest — ‘the advent of the Internet’ enables ‘prompt disclosure of expenditures,’ which ‘provide[s]’ political opponents ‘with the information needed’ to intimidate and retaliate against their foes. … Thus, ‘disclosure permits citizens … to react to the speech of [their political opponents] in a proper’ — or undeniably improper — ‘way’ long before a plaintiff could prevail on an as-applied challenge. …

“I cannot endorse a view of the First Amendment that subjects citizens of this Nation to death threats, ruined careers, damaged or defaced property, or pre-emptive and threatening warning letters as the price for engaging in ‘core political speech, the “primary object of First Amendment protection.”’ … Accordingly, I respectfully dissent …”

The Nevada Supreme Court will rule later on the Citizen Outreach overreach by Miller, but on what grounds? Will they rule for liberty or restraint and abridgement?

(For a thorough discussion of this topic, read Steven Miller’s three-part series, ”R.I.P., Publius,” at Nevada Policy Research Institute — Part IPart IIPart III.)

(A version of this column appeared recently in The Ely Times, Eureka Sentinel, Mineral County Independent-News, Lincoln County Record, the Elko Daily Free Press and the Mesquite Local News. Mitchell also blogs at 4TH ST8.)

Thomas Mitchell

Thomas Mitchell is a former newspaper editor who now writes conservative/libertarian columns for weekly papers in central Nevada and blogs at http://4thst8.wordpress.com/ Twitter: @thomasmnv

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Nevada Court of Appeals Accepts 36 Applications for 3 Judicial Positions

A total of 36 individuals have applied for three open judicial positions on the Nevada Court of Appeals.

The applicants will now be interviewed by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection, which will forward the names of 9 individuals, 3 for each department, to Governor Brian Sandoval for his consideration and selection.

Governor Sandoval has indicated a desire to select 3 judges for the Court of Appeals without delay to allow the court to begin considering cases as early as January 2015.

The following individuals applied for the designated judicial departments:

Court of Appeals – Department 1

  • Janet L. Chubb, 71, Kaempfer Crowell
  • Michael D. Davidson, 60, Attorney, Kolesar & Leatham
  • Chris W. Davis, 54, Attorney, Chris Davis, Esq.
  • Robert E. Gaston, 75, Attorney, Gaston Resolution
  • David A. Hardy, 50, District Court Judge, Second Judicial District
  • Robert A. Nersesian, 57, Attorney, Nersesian & Sankiewicz
  • Janet C. Pancoast, 55, Attorney, Cisneros & Marias
  • Kirby J. Smith, 57, Attorney, Lionel Sawyer & Collins
  • Julien G. Sourwine, 75, Attorney, Sourwine & Sloane, Ltd.
  • Jerome T. Tao, 46, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District

Court of Appeals – Department 2

  • Thomas D. Beatty, III, 72, Attorney, Law Offices of Thomas D. Beatty
  • Michael Patrick Gibbons, 58, District Court Judge, Ninth Judicial District
  • William B. Gonzalez, 53, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District
  • Susan Holland Johnson, 55, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District
  • Thomas G. Kurtz, 63, Court Hearing Master, Eighth Judicial District
  • Alan J. Lefebvre, 61, Attorney, Kolesar & Leatham
  • Anat R. Levy, 52, Attorney, Anat Levy & Associates
  • Kerry Z. Malone, 53, Attorney, Nevada Supreme Court
  • Michelle L. Morgando, 55, Attorney, State of Nevada, Department of Administration, Hearings and Appeals Division
  • Richard Wayne Sears, 68, Attorney, Sears Law Firm, Ltd.
Court of Appeals – Department 3
  • Jeffrey R. Albregts, 57, Attorney, Cotton, Driggs, Walch, Holley Woloson & Thompson
  • Karl W. Armstrong, 56, Attorney, Ray Lego & Associates
  • James Shields Beasley, 70, Attorney, Law Offices of James Shields Beasley
  • Barry Louis Breslow, 52, Attorney, Robison Belaustegui Sharp & Low
  • Allan Ray Earl, 73, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District
  • C. Stanley Hunterton, 66, Attorney, Hunterton & Associates
  • Paul Dee Johnson, 57, Attorney, Clark County District Attorney’s Office
  • Annie J. Kung, 43, Attorney, Kung & Brown
  • Brian T. Kunzi, 56, District Attorney, Nye County
  • Aaron D. Lovaas, 44, Attorney, Global Business Lawyers USA – Lovaas & Lehtinen
  • Aurora Maria Maskall, 51, Attorney, Lee Hernandez Landrum & Garofalo
  • Michael R. Montero, 48 , District Court Judge,  Sixth Judicial District
  • Joseph R. Plater, 55, Attorney, Washoe County District Attorney’s Office
  • Douglas R. Rands, 55, Attorney, Rands South & Gardner
  • Abbi Silver, 49, District Court Judge, Eighth Judicial District
  • Joan Chisholm Wright, 62, Attorney, Allison Mackenzie Pavlakis Wright & Fagan

Applicants were permitted to apply for only one of the three seats on the Court of Appeals. Applicants also were permitted to withdraw from the application process prior to the application deadline. No applications were withdrawn. The public portion of each application will be posted to the Commission’s website within a few days.

Chief Justice Mark Gibbons will recuse himself from participating in interviews and selection of candidates in Department 2. Associate Chief Justice Kristina Pickering will lead the interview and selection process for the Department 2 candidates.

The Commission invites written public comments about the qualifications of the applicants.  Comments should be submitted in writing by November 26, 2014 to:

Robin Sweet
Secretary, Commission on Judicial Selection
Nevada Supreme Court
201 S. Carson St. Ste 250
Carson City, Nevada, 89701

STATE WASTING NO TIME IN STARTING NEW APPELLATE COURT

By SANDRA CHEREB
SPECIAL TO THE Las Vegas REVIEW-JOURNAL

It took 42 years and five trips to the ballot box before Nevada voters agreed to establish an intermediate appellate court. Now state officials are on a fast track to get the court up and running to begin hearing cases as early as January.

Voters on Nov. 4 approved Question 1, a constitutional amendment authorizing an Appeals Court, by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent. It was the fifth time such a measure had appeared on the ballot, with similar questions failing in 1972, 1980, 1992 and 2010.

The three-member intermediate appellate court is seen as crucial to clearing a backlog of cases that has grown over the years to untenable levels.

“The Supreme Court has been overwhelmed for the last few years,” said Robert Eisenberg of the Reno law firm Lemons, Grundy &Eisenberg. “It’s built up as Nevada’s population grew and there were more lawsuits, more cases and more District Court judges added.

“It was almost impossible for the Supreme Court to catch up,” Eisenberg said. “(It) just had too much work to do and there weren’t enough hours in the day.”

Statistics show Nevada’s seven-member Supreme Court receives more than 350 new appeals per justice each year, the highest caseload in the country. It was carrying a backlog of about 2,200 cases.

Money to finance the Appeals Court was authorized by the 2013 Legislature in anticipation of voter support. The state Board of Examiners, headed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, on Wednesday approved $782,500 to fund the court for the rest of the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

The request goes to the Legislature’s Interim Finance Committee for final action.

Sandoval, a former federal judge, plans to appoint the three judges in early December. They will serve a two-year appointment before the seats are up for election in 2016. The positions pay an annual salary of $165,000.

Sandoval said the new appellate court should provide a level of certainty for the business community that legal disputes will be resolved as quickly as possible.

“That’s something that businesses take into consideration, the ability to get finality with regard to a legal determination in a prompt manner,” he said. “And in Nevada, that has in some cases taken several years.”

More than 30 people have applied for the three positions. The Judicial Selection Commission will conduct public inter­views in early December, with names of finalists to be forwarded to Sandoval by Dec. 5.

“The governor has indicated his intention to interview those candidates who are nominated during the week of Dec. 8,” said Justice James Hardesty, who traveled the state urging support for the ballot question.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court is drafting rules on how cases will be distributed to the new appellate court and will hold a public hearing on the proposal Dec. 4.

All appeals will still be filed with the Supreme Court, which would then “deflect” certain cases to the appellate court.

“The rule will contain a listing of case categories that would presumptively transfer cases to the Court of Appeals,” Hardesty said.

Those cases likely would include criminal appeals, nonbusiness cases with a judgment value below a certain threshold; administrative agency appeals, child custody and visitation disputes; and challenges to lower court procedures, Hardesty said.

“We recognize that the court can only reasonably handle about 800 cases per year, so many of the cases … may remain with the Supreme Court just because you don’t want to create for the appellate court the problem the Supreme Court was trying to resolve,” he said.

The Supreme Court will keep all death penalty and business court cases, large judgments appeals, and all cases involving tax and water issues. Conflicts between local governments, different branches of governments, election law and constitutional interpretations also will remain with the high court.

“There is certainly an awful lot of work to be retained by the Supreme Court,” Hardesty said.

Appellate court rulings can be appealed to the Supreme Court, but justices will have discretion on whether to consider the case or allow the lower court ruling to stand.

“The expectation is that most of these cases will be resolved at the Court of Appeals level,” Hardesty said.

WHY IT MATTERS

The goal is to speed up the appeals process, which can take two years or longer, and free up the Supreme Court to author precedent-setting opinions establishing law for lawyers and lower courts to rely on when cases involving similar issues are litigated.

“Sometimes the Supreme Court will resolve a big issue in a case but not have the time to write an opinion,” said Daniel Polsenberg, an appellate attorney with the firm of Lewis Rocha Rothgerber. “Then the issue will come up again and again.

“Taking a simple order that resolves a case and making it into a legally binding opinion takes a lot of time. Sometimes the Nevada Supreme Court just doesn’t have the time to do that. (It’s) got 2,200 cases a year,” he said.

“It’s like an ‘I Love Lucy’ episode,” Polsenberg said of the high court’s caseload. “The conveyor belt keeps moving and you have to resolve all the cases as they go through. Under the old system, something has to give.”

The Appeals Court will also ensure that cases that don’t rise to the level of constitutional importance will receive the review and attention the parties involved deserve, he said.

“Maybe a child custody case isn’t important to anybody else, but it’s terribly important to those parents and those children,” Polsenberg said.

Nevada became the 41st state to implement an appellate court, 20 years after the last state, Mississippi, did so in 1995, according to the National Center for State Courts.

If the experience in Mississippi is any indication, Nevada’s new court will greatly improve court operations and case resolution.

“It was implemented to address the backlog, and it’s done that,” said Beverly Kraft, spokeswoman for the administrative office of courts in Jackson, Miss.

Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Leslie D. King agreed.

“It was averaging about five years to get a case through the system, from notice of appeal to issuance of a decision,” said King, who served on the Court of Appeals following its creation until he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2011 and subsequently elected.

Nevada’s appellate court is similar to Mississippi’s in that both use a deflective process where all appeals are filed with the state Supreme Court, which assigns some to the appellate court while retaining others. Like Nevada, appeals of appellate court rulings are at the discretion of the Supreme Court.

King echoed the sentiments of Nevada lawyers and judges, saying reducing the time for appeals to be decided has been particularly helpful in child custody disputes.

“Those are extremely difficult situations,” King said. “In a child custody action … that distance between parents can become greater and greater as time gets by. But if you can get a quick resolution to those issues, it allows the family to try to heal.”

But Mississippi has another law that has also greatly cut down the time frame for appeals. Under state law, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court are required to render a decision within 270 days from when the final brief in a case is filed.

“The courts in recent years have always met that deadline and frequently decide cases in a shorter period of time,” Kraft said. “It has led to timely decisions so people can get their matters resolved. That was the intent of the legislation.”

The strict time constraint has reduced delay tactics by lawyers, King said.

“For a long period of time, particularly in civil damages cases, we saw more and more appeals,” he said. “But I think now that the disposition of those cases has been expedited, you don’t see those appeals that are done merely to string out the case.”

Court of Appeals Chief Judge L. Joseph Lee said the Mississippi appellate court handles about 2½ times the volume of cases as does the Supreme Court.

The Appeals Court has 10 judges, while the Supreme Court has nine justices. Lee wondered how Nevada will do with only three judges on the appellate court.

“You’re going to operate the Court of Appeals with only three judges”? Lee said. “They’re going to be worked. They’re definitely going to be worked.”

Hardesty said although Nevada’s constitutional amendment allows for expansion of the Appeals Court, there is no immediate plan to do so.

“We are not. We’ve never planned to do that. We have no intention of doing that next year,” Hardesty said.

He said a bill draft request submitted by the Supreme Court for the legislative session that begins in February was intended as a place holder in case clean-up language was needed to implement the new court.

“That (bill draft request) was never intended to be used and will not be used to request the Legislature to add more judges,” Hardesty said.

Child welfare system reform: Real change or more of same?

By Parker Philpot

NancySaitta Child welfare system reform: Real change or more of same?All agencies may have problems of one type or another, but the Clark County agency responsible for protecting the youngest and most vulnerable—the children—has for too long gone relatively unchecked and uncorrected, according to countless family advocates, families who have been inexplicably victimized by agency malfunctions, and media critics — the Las Vegas Tribune at the forefront.
The pages of this newspaper and programs on RadioTribune.com have been filled for years with articles covering the Division of Child and Family Services and exposing major problems and questionable rulings in several cases that came before the family courts. Accounts of families and children the system not only did not protect, but who instead became targets of abuse and torment or neglect, are proof that deeper investigation into the county’s system is warranted.

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NEVADA BALLOT QUESTION 1: DO WE NEED A COURT OF APPEALS? No and Yes – The Nevada Court System is a complete corrupt mess

NEVADA BALLOT QUESTION 1: DO WE NEED A COURT OF APPEALS?

CNN coverage of ANTI-CURRPTION protest against Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

CNN coverage of ANTI-CURRPTION protest against Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto

Nevada has one of the worst court systems in the country. Now they want to add another layer of bureaucracy at taxpayer expense.

On one hand, yes the Nevada State courts are clogged and bogged down and appeals go directly to the Nevada Supreme Court where an appeal can take up to 4 years to be decided. On the surface, it appears an appellate court is needed to help streamline and reduce the backlog and amount of time to figure out an appeal from the States lower courts.

However, the Nevada court system is so polluted with bad judges and corruption which should be addressed first. There are other suggestions from various people in the know like County DA’s and candidates for DA and AG. There is a mixed school of thought out there that suggests both the need and the other problems that must be rectified first.

We urge you to read the issues with ballot question #1 and come to your own conclusion. We will vote NO for now until the Nevada Judiciary cleans up is mess, removes bad judges from the bench and eliminates the rampant corruption perpetuating from the courtrooms across Nevada!

shutterstock_92305813

The Nevada Court of Appeals is estimated to cost $800,000 to establish, an amount that was set aside in a contingency account for Fiscal Year 2015 in the budget approved by the 2013 Legislature. After that, the court is estimated to cost $1.5 million per year to operate.

money blackhole

The Nevada Court of Appeals is estimated to cost $800,000 to establish, an amount that was set aside in a contingency account for Fiscal Year 2015 in the budget approved by the 2013 Legislature. After that, the court is estimated to cost $1.5 million per year to operate.

This election Nevada voters will once again consider whether to amend the state constitution to create a Court of Appeals. Question No. 1 reads: “Shall the NevadaConstitution be amended to create a Court of Appeals that would decide appeals ofDistrict Court decisions in certain civil and criminal cases?”

Question 1 is an amendment to the Nevada State Constitution creating an appellate court. Currently Nevada’s court system is composed of Justices of the Peace, District Courtsand the Nevada Supreme Court, with all appeals from Nevada’s District Courts going directly to the Supreme Court. Nevada is one of ten states without an intermediate appellate court below the state’s Supreme Court.

If Question 1 passes, the Nevada Court of Appeals would initially consist of three judges. The Legislature could increase the number in the future.

The Supreme Court would determine the types of decisions the Court of Appeals would hear. The Supreme Court would also decide when it would review a decision of the Court of Appeals. If the number of judges were to be increased beyond three, the Supreme Court would assign each appeal to a panel of three judges.

The Court of Appeals’ first group of judges would be appointed by Nevada’s governor. A Commission on Judicial Selection would provide the governor with a list of three nominations for each seat from which the governor would make the selections. After the initial appointments, members of the Nevada Court of Appeals would be elected by the state’s voters.

The first group of judges on the Nevada Court of Appeals would serve two-year terms, but after that judges on the court would serve six-year terms. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court would appoint one of the appeals court judges to be the chief judge. The first chief judge’s term would be two years, but subsequent chief judges would serve for four years.

The Nevada Court of Appeals is estimated to cost $800,000 to establish, an amount that was set aside in a contingency account for Fiscal Year 2015 in the budget approved by the 2013 Legislature. After that, the court is estimated to cost $1.5 million per year to operate. The Fiscal Note attached to Question 1 indicates the court, at least initially, would be able to operate out of existing facilities in northern and southern Nevada.

Question1 began as Senate Joint Resolution 14 (SJR 14) in the 2011 Legislature. The resolution was introduced by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In order for the constitutional amendment to be approved, SJR 14 is required to pass each house of the Legislature with at least 2/3 majority during two separate sessions, then be approved by the voters.

SJR 14 was approved by the State Senate 16-5 and the Assembly 32-8 (with 2 excused) in 2011. It passed both houses unanimously (21-0 in the Senate and 40-0, with 2 excused, in the Assembly) in 2013.

Voters have previously voted against creating a Nevada Court of Appeals in 1972, 1980, 1992 and 2010.

[Header image from Shutterstock.com]

Michael Chamberlain

Michael Chamberlain is the Editor of Watchdog Wire – Nevada. Please contact him at Nevada@watchdogwire.com for story ideas or to get involved in citizen journalism in Nevada. Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelpchamber

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Voters Should Approve Appeals Court to Speed Delivery of Justice

Between now and the November election you likely will hear this phrase repeated frequently: “Justice delayed is justice denied.”Between now and the November election you likely will hear this phrase repeated frequently: “Justice delayed is justice denied.”
This pithy little aphorism is usually attributed to 19th century British Prime Minister William Gladstone and argues that legal redress not delivered in a timely fashion is tantamount to no redress at all — such as some court cases here in Nevada that are still pending, though most of the original parties have long since died.

It is the favorite argument proffered by advocates for setting up an appeals court in Nevada, even though voters rejected similar proposals in 2010 and 1992.

Actually, that is not the strongest argument for ballot Question No. 1. You see, in order to keep up with its truly monumental caseload, the Nevada Supreme Court has over the past years resorted to disposing of most cases with non-precedential memorandum, or what are called unpublished opinion, since these can be prepared quicker and more easily than a full blown opinion. The case is settled but the ruling sets no precedent for similar cases, and thus offers no guidance for the courts, attorneys and parties. The same legal ground gets plowed over and over, wasting time and money for litigants and taxpayers.
“The published opinions that establish guidance on unsettled questions of Nevada law, as a percentage of the number of total dispositions, has declined over the years to where it now hovers between 3 and 4 percent,” the court reported in its fiscal year 2013 annual report.

At the urging of the justices, the 2013 Nevada Legislature passed SJR14, which would, if approved, create the Court of Appeals. But it would not be just another layer of judicial bureaucracy between the 171 district court judges and the seven-member Supreme Court. It would be a push-down court.

All appeals would go straight to the Supreme Court, but about a third of all cases, estimated to be about 700 a year, would be sent to the three-justice appeals court — such as timely cases involving child custody and criminal convictions.

The Nevada Constitution requires mandatory review of all cases, but the appellate court would allow discretionary review. The few cases anticipated to be appealed from the intermediate court would have been thoroughly reviewed and the high court could make short work of those cases.

The 2013 Annual Report of the Nevada Judiciary indeed shows the state’s high court carrying a huge caseload. Of the 10 states that do not have an appellate court, the report showed Nevada had the highest caseload by far — 2,333 cases compared to the second highest of 1,524 in West Virginia and 910 in third highest New Hampshire. That caseload means there are 333 cases for each of the seven Nevada justices. The American Bar Association recommends no more than 100 cases.

In a comment to the 2013 Legislature, Chief Justice Kris Pickering said, “In 2012, filings exceeded the dispositions and will likely continue to do so. Delayed dispositions and lack of precedent by which citizens can predict outcomes and regulate themselves are the result. This hurts not only citizens whose cases are delayed but Nevada’s nascent economic recovery as well.”

If approved by the voters, the appeals court would be housed in the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, closer to the vast majority of parties in legal disputes and thus saving time and money.

The cost of implementing the Court of Appeals is estimated to be $1.5 million a year to pay for the three judicial positions as well as staff — one executive legal assistant and two law clerks per judge. Since the Supreme Court is expected to spend less due to this intermediate court the total increased cost to taxpayers should be less than $1.5 million.

Nevadans are not getting the timely justice they deserve and are having to spin their wheels making the same legal arguments time and again. This time we believe the justices and lawyers supporting this measure have made their case.
We urge voters to approve Question No. 1 when you go to the polls this November. —TM

CARSON CITY DA BLOWS IT AGAIN: Nevada Supreme Court upholds dismissal child sex case; critical of Carson City DA’s office

incompNevada Supreme Court upholds dismissal child sex case; critical of Carson City DA’s office Tuesday upheld the dismissal of child sex assault charges against Jeffrey Volosin.

District Attorney Neil Rombardo said his office would appeal the ruling by the three-judge panel, asking for an en banc hearing before all seven justices.

Volosin was charged in Dec., 2012 with 10 counts of sexual assault and two counts of lewdness with a child under age 14.

The victims, sisters, were both under age 10 when the alleged abuse began.

The Public Defender’s office challenged the charges saying the criminal information didn’t give a reasonable amount of detail as to when the crimes occurred for Volosin to defend himself against the charges.

The justices agreed saying exact times and places for the alleged assaults aren’t necessary but some indication of a time line of incidents is so the defendant can prepare a defense.

While the prosecution argued that time is not an element of the crime, District Judge James Wilson agreed the charges were so vague they violated the defendant’s 6th Amendment right to be informed of the nature of the actions against him and his 14th Amendment right to due process.

He gave the prosecutors time to file an amended set of charges but no new information was ever filed so Wilson dismissed the case with prejudice.

The DA’s office appealed but on Tuesday, the high court affirmed Wilson’s ruling, criticizing the prosecution for failing to properly investigate the case before filing any charges.

The charges originated from a separate investigation in South Lake Tahoe that turned up allegations the two girls were abused while living in Carson City. The report said the abuse continued from ages 7-9 in one case and from 6-15 in the other case.

Volosin faces an 11-count complaint filed by the El Dorado County District Attorney charging similar crimes including lewdness with a child and sex acts with a person under 16. He’s scheduled for a court appearance on those charges Oct. 27 in South Lake Tahoe.

California investigators turned the report over to the Carson City Sheriff’s Department but, according to the Supreme Court order, “the Carson City District Attorney appears to have filed the (charges) without performing any independent investigation.”

The situation was further complicated by the fact that, by the time the allegations surfaced, the girls were 18 and 15 years old.

“The entire investigation was performed by a California detective investigating crimes that occurred in his jurisdiction,” the decision states. “Any crimes that occurred in Carson City were not the focus of the California investigation.”

“Of particular note in this case is the glaring absence of an investigation into the abuse allegations by the state,” the ruling states adding Carson City investigators “failed to even interview the victims.”

“We conclude that the district court correctly held that the state’s charging document must allege sufficiently precise time frames to provide adequate notice to defendants,” the order concludes.

Rombardo said he believes the court “missed a significant issue.”

“The victims did testify at a preliminary hearing so why do we need an investigation by Nevada officials,” he asked.

Rombardo said he doesn’t understand why it would be necessary for Nevada investigators to interview the two girls, especially since, he said, interviewing the alleged victims again and again raises other legal issues.

“There’s case law out there through the United States federal court that if you question a child too much about this sort of thing, you’re basically leading the child to make these statements,” he said.

He said the final decision is up to the court, “but we’re at least going to ask them to consider that.”

The decision was written by Justices Kris Pickering, Ron Parraguirre and Nancy Saitta.

Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta has called for a blue ribbon committee to examine shortcomings in the Clark County child welfare system and courts.

Inquiry launched into Clark County child welfare problems

Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta has called for a blue ribbon committee to examine shortcomings in the Clark County child welfare system and courts.problems

The committee will examine problems that include crowding at Child Haven, the county’s emergency shelter for abused or neglected children, the shortage of foster homes, and long court calenders for child welfare cases.

The group will also examine why children are not being released to relatives.

“Action needs to be taken immediately to address these shortcomings that are jeopardizing the well-being of children in Clark County,” Saitta said in a statement Monday. “These children deserve better, and I get no sense of urgency on the part of the system. This committee will identify the most serious issues in the child welfare system and work with County officials to make sure they are corrected quickly.”

Saitta appointed the group as part of the Court Improvement Program for the Protection and Permanency of Dependent Children, which she leads.

problems 2The plan is for the blue ribbon committee to meet during the next four months and come up with recommendations for county action, possible legislative bills for the 2015 session or a combination of both.

In addition to Saitta, the committee will include Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman; County Commissioner Susan Brager; former assembly speaker and Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada Executive Director Barbara Buckley; Nevada Human Health and Services Director Amber Howell; District Judge Deborah Schumacher, Second Judicial District Court; and Thom Reilly, a former Clark County manager and managing principal and founder of The Reilly Group.

“Children are being separated from their siblings and the wishes of relatives are being totally ignored as decisions about the children are being made,” Buckley said in a statement. “There seems to be a real inconsistency in the way children in different parts of town are treated. These are problems that need to be fixed now; they are having a devastating impact on our children.”

Brager said Monday that the panel has an important task ahead — looking at the system globally and all the interconnecting parts of the child welfare system.

“They’re all interlinked,” Brager said. “The focus on the child and being able to do what is right for the child will make it worthwhile. … I’m very excited that we’re looking at the big picture.”

Lisa Ruiz-Lee, director of Clark County Department of Family Services, and Assistant Clark County Manager Jeff Wells are “anxious to be part of the solution,” the state supreme court’s release said.

“I have worked with Justice Saitta on a number of committees and I know her deep commitment to the children and families of our community and I look forward to working with her and the other committee members to address the concerns of the child welfare system,” Wells said in a prepared statement.

Wells and Family Services officials were unavailable for interviews Monday afternoon.

Donna Coleman, a longtime child advocate in Clark County, said that for a blue ribbon panel to have value, it will need to make major, positive changes in a timely fashion with the information it gathers.

“I’ve seen so many panels in my 20-plus years of advocating that have accomplished zero,” Coleman said.

The committee is on a tight schedule. The group is expected to meet three times, with the first meeting set for Oct. 7. The committee’s goal is to finish its work by Jan. 30, 2015. That deadline allows time for any bill proposals to go to Legislature when lawmakers meet in February.

The state convened a blue ribbon panel in 2006 to review child fatalities in Nevada. That panel resulted in steps to improve the tracking and accuracy of information about fatalities, and report death notifications to the state’s Division of Child and Family Services.

Ed Cotton, a consultant who worked with that group, said it will be important for the new committee to have a strategic plan to guide its work. He said it will be important to get input from caseworkers and foster parents.

“I think it’s really important they don’t just review files or talk to managers,” Cotton said.

Flexibility and openness to hearing varied public input can play a key role too for the panel, he said.

One of the things that came out of the last panel’s input was that they couldn’t get through when calling the county’s child abuse hotline. In the public meeting, the panel — after hearing a rosy statement that calls to the hotline get through within three minutes — placed a call to the hotline. They waited 26 minutes before someone on the hotline answered the call, Cotton said.

“You can’t ignore those things when they come up,” he said.

Contact Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2904. Find him on Twitter: @BenBotkin1.

source: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/inquiry-launched-clark-county-child-welfare-problems

UNLV audience hears push for state appeals court

UNLV audience hears push for state appeals court

Supreme Court justices during a panel discussion at Boyd Law School on Monday continued their campaignasking the public to vote yes on the initiative to establish a Nevada Court of Appeals.

Justice Nancy Saitta advocated for the creation of an appeals court, which would add three justices to handle about one-third of the roughly 2,300 cases appealed to the Supreme Court each year.

The justices each handled 333 cases in 2013, which was three times the 100 recommended by the American Bar Association.

Voters will decide in the Nov. 4 general election whether to approve the Court of Appeals, which will appear as Question No. 1 on the ballot. The Nevada Legislature unanimously approved it in 2011 and 2013.

Saitta was joined by Boyd Law School Associate Dean for Experiential Legal Education Anne Traum and lawyer Cliff Marcek at a panel discussion Monday night at the law school, located on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus.

While both Traum and Marcek said they supported the initiative, they expressed concern about how the court would decide which case would go to which court.

The model being pushed by Saitta and the other justices would send cases with constitutional issues, death penalty cases or cases in which a defendant was sentenced to life in prison to the Supreme Court to be heard.

Cases such as prisoners’ writs of habeas corpus regarding the food they are served or driver’s license revocation petitions would be heard by the appeals court.

Traum questioned whether the higher court would become a “lawyers court” for those who have the acumen to get their cases heard by the justices. And, in turn, would the Supreme Court deny access to people who represent themselves because of the high cost of legal representation and would those “pro se” cases be sent to the appeals court outright, the dean asked.

Saitta said the justices are studying national models to find the best practices and added that pro se cases would “absolutely not” automatically be shifted to the appeals court.

The Silver State is one of 10 states without an appeals court, and the high court’s seven judges are overloaded, Saitta said.

Some appeals linger in the high court for two, sometimes three years, the justice said.

Marcek said he has one case that has been waiting two years to be heard.

Nevada is joined by West Virginia, Montana, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Wyoming as states without an appeals court.

What separates Nevada’s high court from those in other states is its caseload, Marcek said.

The Nevada Supreme Court sees more cases filed than all of the other states on the list and nearly 1,000 more cases than West Virginia, which was second on the list.

“I’m not saying we want to model ourselves after West Virginia,” Marcek quipped.

About 50 people, mostly Boyd law students, attended the discussion.

No one in the audience of future lawyers openly objected to expanding the legal system in Nevada. And several times during the discussion, the students said in unison “Vote yes on Question 1.”

An appeals court is expected to cost about $1.5 million a year to operate, but it would not require building courthouses. Saitta said the justices have plans to work it into the high courts budget.

Nevada voters rejected the proposal in 2010, with 53 percent voting not to change the state’s constitution, which requires the Supreme Court to handle all appeals.

The proposed appeals court that voters will consider in November is a “push down” model, which means the Supreme Court would take all appeals, delegating the basic cases to the lower court.

The appeals court would have precedent-setting authority, Saitta said.

That would free up the Supreme Court justices to publish more opinions — and set more precedents — in a state with very few written opinions.

If voters approve the appellate court, the Supreme Court is expected to have the power to tweak the court without going back to the Legislature.

Contact Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5512. Follow @fjmccabe on Twitter.

Nevada Supreme Kangaroo Court Website Named Top 10 for 2014

NSC website

Fiat justitia is on the Nevada Supreme Court seal and is a Latin phrase, meaning “Let justice be done”. Historically in England, a warrant for a writ of error in Parliament or later a petition of right in the courts could be brought only after the king, or on his behalf the Home Secretary, had endorsed fiat justitia on a petition for such a warrant. It was a means of granting leave to appeal by exercise of the royal prerogative.

7/23/2014 8:45:00 AM

The Forum on the Advancement of Court Technology (FACT) has named the Supreme Court of Nevada website as a 2014 Top 10 Court Websites Award winner.

See the website here: http://supreme.nvcourts.gov/

The award recognizes the Supreme Court for improving access to justice through the use of technology and for improving the online access of Court resources. Judges recognized the Supreme Court’s website for providing “superior functionality and real time video of court proceedings.”

“This award recognizes the expertise of our incredible web team who worked tirelessly to develop a website that not only looks good but also works to provide access to court information, records, and documents,” said Justice Nancy Saitta, chair of the Supreme Court Web Editorial Board Committee.

Fiat justitia is on the Nevada Supreme Court seal and is a Latin phrase, meaning “Let justice be done”. Historically in England, a warrant for a writ of error in Parliament or later a petition of right in the courts could be brought only after the king, or on his behalf the Home Secretary, had endorsed fiat justitia on a petition for such a warrant. It was a means of granting leave to appeal by exercise of the royal prerogative.

In 2013, the Supreme Court redesigned its website and developed a mobile application to improve access to case information, decisions, and calendars. Both the website and the mobile application allow visitors to listen to oral argument recordings on their desktop or iPhones and Android devices. The website can be found at supreme.nvcourts.gov and the app is available for no charge on both the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Founded in 1989, the Forum on the Advancement of Court Technology (FACT) is a consortium of private-sector companies and court representatives dedicated to strengthening the dialogue between courts who use technology and companies who provide technology. FACT is a special committee of the National Association for Court Management (NACM).

Qualifications For Nevada Supreme Court Justices

FUCK the Nevada “Supreme” Kangaroo Court – Strippers have 1st Amendment Rights

stippersRENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) — The Nevada Supreme Court has decided a 10 percent tax on strip club admission doesn’t violate exotic dancers’ first amendment rights of free expression. vince neil

Justices ruled it was constitutional to tax the clubs and other live entertainment because the tax is content-neutral, doesn’t target a small group of people, and doesn’t threaten to suppress ideas or viewpoints.

The broad-based tax applies to many events but exempts some live entertainment, including boxing, Nascar races and minor league baseball.

nevada supreme court

judge tatroStrippers Argue Free Speech In Court, Don’t Stay In Vegas
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The Nevada Supreme Court will decide whether Vegas strip clubs must pay a 10% entertainment tax imposed by state law. The tax covers fees, food and drinks. Although the clubs have been forced to pay it since 2003, they claim it’s unconstitutional and want a refund.

Why? Exotic dancers have First Amendment rights, the clubs say. This tax violates the Constitution. Sound crazy? It depends.

Lawyers for eight strip clubs say the tax violates the right to free speech. But the Nevada Department of Taxation sees the tax as just another excise tax on business transactions. An excise tax is like a sales tax only more targeted. Some people call these sin taxes, and that’s a name that seems apt here. vegas strip bus

Several courts have heard the case since 2006. But in case after case, Nevada’s tax has been upheld so far. Now Nevada’s highest court will take a look. Most observers think the tax will be upheld.

In fact, in other states taxes on similar activity have generally passed constitutional muster. In New York, court battles brewed for years over a sales tax exemption that was applied to artistic performances like ballet but not to so-called exotic dance. The question was whether lap dances could be classified as “art” and therefore be tax-exempt.

A key suit was filed by a New York club called Nite Moves. An adult juice bar, the club serves no alcohol but does serve lap dances. The club claimed lap dances were art so were tax-exempt, but the club consistently lost. See 677 New Loudon Corp., dba Nite Moves v. New York Tax Appeals Tribunal.
strip clubsThe club’s revenue comes from admission charges, sales of non-alcoholic beverages, and exotic dances. New York is collecting sales tax on the dances. The club relied on an exemption for musical performances.

Some argued only choreographed dances count, while lap dances are more extemporaneous. After losing in New York’s highest court, Nite Moves fired off a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal. That petition was rejected by SCOTUS.

Texas also has a Sexually Oriented Business Fee, generally referred to as a pole tax. It collects $5 from each patron of clubs featuring nudity and serving alcohol. There have been court battles over this tax too, but the Texas Supreme Court eventually upheld it. Dancing may be a way of expressing yourself, but the pole tax doesn’t violate the First Amendment, the court ruled.men strip

Even Illinois now has a pole tax. Getting any tax ruled as unconstitutional is tough. And while the specific language and effect of any tax must be examined, the likelihood of the free speech argument carrying the day seems small.

You can reach me at Wood@WoodLLP.com. This discussion is not intended as legal advice, and cannot be relied upon for any purpose without the services of a qualified professional.

source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2014/01/07/strippers-argue-free-speech-in-court-dont-stay-in-vegas/

stip club

1st amendment9th Circuit to strip-club dancers: Keep your distance

Friday, January 28, 2005

LA HABRA, Calif. — A federal appeals court has upheld La Habra’s ordinance requiring strip-club dancers to stay at least 24 inches from customers.

 

The ordinance was designed to target lap dancing, which the city claims is responsible for prostitution, crime, drug use and disease.

 

In a 3-0 ruling on Jan.26, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by Bill Badi Gammoh, owner of the city’s only adult-entertainment club, and by several lap dancers that the ordinance is unconstitutional.

 

The 2-foot limit does not deny the dancers their ability to perform, the judges said in Gammoh v. City of La Habra.

 

Attorney Deborah Fox, who represented the city in its fight with the owner of Taboo Gentleman’s Club, said it was an important ruling because “lap dancing is the financial linchpin of the adult industry and this is the end of the argument about its prohibition.”

 

Gammoh’s fight with the city began shortly after he opened the strip club in 1998 and filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s anti-lap dance ordinance as vague and unconstitutional.

 

The ordinance “unfairly impedes on (a dancer’s) right to expression and speech,” attorney Scott Wellman said.

 

The 9th Circuit disagreed. “The 2-foot rule,” Judge Richard Tallman wrote, “merely requires that dancers give their performances from a slight distance; it does not prohibit them from giving their performances altogether.”

 

Meanwhile, a Nevada judge ruled on Jan. 21 that a Las Vegas law prohibiting strippers from fondling customers during lap dances is unconstitutionally vague.

 

District Court Judge Sally Loehrer affirmed a lower court ruling that as many as five misdemeanor criminal cases filed against Las Vegas strippers should be dismissed.

 

The Jan. 21 ruling affects only dancers within city limits. The Clark County Commission in 2002 limited touching between strippers and patrons during private lap dances, specifically barring strippers from touching or sitting on the customer’s genital area. But the municipal code was not as specific, saying only that strippers and their patrons should not “fondle” or “caress” each other.

Under Loehrer’s ruling, no dancer in the city can be arrested for violating the municipal code. The city is considering an appeal.

Hagar: Nevada Supreme justices suffer ‘personal toll’

Nevada Supreme Court

Nevada Supreme Court

nevada supreme court

Nevada Supreme Court protest

Nevada Supreme Court protest

FRAUD UPON THE COURT Reno, NV Judge Patrick Flanagan and 5 Nevada Supreme Court Justices completely fabricated an entire caseNevada Supreme Court Justice James Hardesty is the main spokesman for Question One on the November general-election ballot.

If passed by voters, it would establish an appeals court in Nevada. It would ease the overwhelming pressure on the state Supreme Court, which now is the only appeals court in the state.

Nevada is just one of 10 states that doesn’t have an intermediate appeals court. Because of that, the Nevada Supreme Court’s backlog on undecided cases has mushroomed from 1,515 five years ago to more than 2,200 today.

It can take up to four years, in some cases, to get an appeal decided in Nevada. No wonder the theme of the campaign for Question One is: Justice delayed is justice denied.

Not only does the current system take its toll on justice, it also takes its toll on the justices who decide the cases.

“There is a considerable personal toll,” Hardesty said. “You’re exhausted.

“As you may know, I read until midnight, 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning four nights a week,” Hardesty said. “When you do that, day in and day out, it takes quite a toll. And yet, quite frankly, you see these cases languishing in the system and you’re doing everything you possibly can to get them decided as soon as you can.

“Personally, it is very frustrating not to be able to resolve more cases more quickly because you know people’s lives are put on hold and it directly impacts them and their emotional state,” Hardesty said

 

Sounds like Nevada’s justices are overworked. And that is a terrible situation for anyone who is seeking a fair ruling from the state’s Supreme Court.

Child custody cases can take up to four years to resolve, Hardesty said. Lengthy time frames also apply to death-row appeals and criminal cases. Kids could be almost grown – and their childhoods ruined — by the time the Supreme Court renders its decision.

Perhaps the justices have made decisions on very important matters while they are mentally fatigued, which is good for no one.

Despite the potential for mental fatigue, the current overwhelming case load can also cause sleepless nights for the justices.

Journalist Jon Ralston, on his Ralston Reports TV show, asked Hardesty if he ever woke up worrying if the court didn’t spend enough time on any particular case.

Hardesty softly replied “yes,” then elaborated:

“It leaves you with sleepless nights,” Hardesty said. “And everyone of us probably has some real misgivings about whether we have given adequate time to some of the serious questions that are in front of us.”

justice denied

THIS ISSUE WITH THE NEVADA Supreme Court is nothing new. Voters have rejected the establishment of an intermediate or appeals court four times since the late 1970s. The latest rejection came in 2010.

Then, the issue was tied to an initiative where judges would first be appointed by the governor instead of being elected. They would retain their jobs if they could then garner 55 percent of the vote in an election.

The initiative passed in Clark County but ultimately was defeated, since it lost in Nevada’s 16 other counties. Hardesty noted that the 2014 campaign for an appeals court doesn’t have to carry that “appointment” baggage into the election.

But really, it kinda does.

First, the court of appeals would consist of three judges. The governor would appoint them after nominations from the Commission on Judicial Selection. The three initial judges would be appointed to two-year terms. Then they would face election for a six-year term.

Could the governor stack the appeals court with his cronies?

Then, once appointed, they would have the power of incumbency heading into their elections. And a six-year term? That’s a long as a U.S. senator.

STATE SEN. GREG BROWER, R-Reno, is heading a political action committee (along with Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas) to raise money for an “educational campaign” to inform the voters about the need for an appeals court.

Some expected Brower to run for attorney general this year. But he didn’t. Instead, the GOP candidate for that office is Adam Laxalt, the grandson of former U.S. Sen. and Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt.

Brower has yet to endorse Laxalt, even though they belong to the same party.

“I just really have not been focused on that or involved in that,” Brower said of the AG’s race. “I’m working very hard on getting our (state) senate candidates elected. As you know, we are one seat shy of a majority (in the state senate). We have three very tough races in Southern Nevada that will determine the balance of power in the senate, so we are working very hard on that. And that is where my focus is.”

Brower noted that his name was tied to the AG’s race as the presumed Republican candidate long before Laxalt came into the picture.

“I just really was not interested in running,” he said. “I know there was scuttlebutt, but there’s scuttlebutt about a lot of things. But I am committed to the work I am doing in the (state) senate and I have a very busy law practice and I was just not interested in doing that (running for AG).”

1LINKEDINCOMMENT

In Nevada, Legal Cases Can Take Years, and Then Years Again. CATCH 22: We believe the lower courts need to be “fixed” and bad Judges removed first before spending millions of dollars to reward a corrupt Nevada judicial system with an appeals court.

Here’s an article about the Nevada Court system that we hope you will read, and share, because it’s important. CATCH 22: We believe the lower courts need to be “fixed” and bad Judges removed first before spending millions of dollars to reward a corrupt Nevada judicial system with an appeals court. 

Nevada Supreme Court Bogged Down.

NPR reports today that the Nevada Supreme Court is the busiest in the nation, and that’s a very bad thing. Why? Because Nevada is one of just 10 states with no intermediate appeals court, our judges are simply overwhelmed by cases. It means that any time a case is appealed, whether divorce, probate,  personal injury, civil rights, or whatever, it has to go to the state supreme court rather than first passing through a mid-appellate court.

What does this mean for the citizens of Nevada? It means that results can take years to go through court, then even more years to go through appeals. The Nevada Supreme Court is just flooded by cases. Nevada has more than 330 cases filed per Supreme Court justice per year. To get a sense of how bad that is, Arizona, with a population three times that of Nevada, has around only 200, and Utah, with a very similar population to that of Nevada, has only about 100. Both of those states have appellate courts that help resolve many of the appellate cases.

Nevada Chief Justice James Hardesty asks “Do you want us working on precedential-setting cases, the most important cases… or do you want us to resolve drivers’ license revocations or inmate disputes?” (source)

Why don’t we have an appeals court?

Many states created appeals courts in the 60s and 70s, as state populations grew and court systems were re-worked. However, Nevada experienced most of its growth in the past 30 years, so we missed that wave of reform. Additionally, establishing an appeals court here requires a constitutional amendment to be approved by voters. Nevada voters have been suspicious of changes to the court system, and wary of the expense.

What do we need to do?

Nevada needs an appellate court. Our court system deserves to be free to face tough issues, and our population deserves quick justice for their legal issues. Right now we’ve got neither.

This election cycle, both political parties and the entire legal community are behind this change to the Nevada legal system. But there’s no money to make people aware of how important this is.  That’s why it’s important you share this information.

The cost of an appeals court is only about 1.5 million dollars. That’s less than one hundredth of one percent of our state budget, and it would mean years of relief for countless Nevada citizens, and it would take financial pressure off of programs such as the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.

It’s time Nevada moved forward on this important issue.

Nevada U.S. Attorney sees rise in number of corrupt Nevada lawyers prosecuted

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Las Vegas Review Journal - Tonja Brown "The Nolan Klein Story"

Nevada ranks number one in the Country for the most corrupt attorneys… We need to clean up the corruption within our judicial system and it starts with arresting and prosecuting the corrupt attorneys and judges!

Massive CRIME SCENE at Nevada attorney General Office in Carson City because of the rampant corruption in the CORRUPT Nevada Courts 
LVRJ News source: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/crime-courts/nevada-us-attorney-sees-rise-number-lawyers-prosecuted

bad lawyers judges

Prosecutors have noticed an “alarming” number of lawyers convicted of serious crimes in federal court in the past several years.tatro corrupt

A total of 23 lawyers, mostly from Las Vegas, have been convicted since 2008, according to the Nevada U.S. attorney’s office.

Since 2011, the number of convictions have increased nearly five times over the previous three years, records show.

There were four convictions between 2008 and 2010, but 19 between 2011 and this year. Eight attorneys either pleaded guilty or were convicted by a jury in 2013 alone.

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Dan Bogdenusdoj“In the last several years, the number of lawyers charged with federal crimes has increased dramatically,” U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden says.

“Although we cannot speculate as to the reason for the rise in numbers, we can say that it is embarrassing and sad when lawyers violate the very laws they have taken an oath to uphold.”

Bogden calls the growing rate of attorney prosecutions “alarming” in his 2013 annual report on the accomplishments of his office.

bad nevada lawyers

bad attorneys

He isn’t alone in noticing the increase.crime

“There’s been a significant uptick,” says David Clark, the chief counsel for the State Bar of Nevada, which regulates lawyers. “It’s a combination of economic realities and the increased vigilance on the part of federal prosecutors to go after lawyers.”

Clark says attorneys have struggled in the failing economy just like everyone else and have been forced to look for other ways to make money, sometimes landing in legal and professional trouble.

Of the 23 convictions since 2008, a total of 19 involved financial crimes such as tax evasion, bank fraud and mortgage fraud, records show.

Bankruptcy attorney Randolph Goldberg pleaded guilty to tax evasion last year and is now serving a 1½-year sentence in federal prison. Defense lawyer and former prosecutor Paul Wommer, who was convicted by a jury of tax evasion last year, is serving a nearly 3½-year prison sentence. Both are temporarily suspended and can expect more disciplinary action from the State Bar when they get out of prison.

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disbarredBusiness Woman Series 24Four Las Vegas attorneys — the late David Amesbury, Jeanne Winkler, Barry Levinson and Brian Jones — pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the federal investigation into the massive takeover of Las Vegas-area homeowners associations.

Amesbury killed himself weeks after he pleaded guilty, and the other three lawyers are cooperating with prosecutors and waiting to be sentenced.

Another attorney, Keith Gregory, is to stand trial in October in the HOA case, and one key target, attorney Nancy Quon, committed suicide before federal authorities could charge her.

Winkler was disbarred in 2011 for stealing money from her clients, and Levinson agreed to disbarment as part of the plea deal he struck with federal prosecutors earlier this year. He is currently suspended from practicing law.

kolo news coverage part 1

Other well-known lawyers have run afoul of the law:

■ Harvey Whittemore, a onetime political power broker, was convicted last year of unlawfully funneling more than $133,000 to the campaign of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat. He was sentenced to two years in prison and must surrender in August. Whittemore is temporarily suspended from practicing law while the State Bar considers further action.

■ Noel Gage, who specialized in personal injury cases, pleaded guilty in 2010 to obstruction of justice in a federal investigation into an alleged fraud scheme involving a network of lawyers and physicians. He was sentenced to three years probation. Gage is off probation and his law license is temporarily suspended until the end of July. He must apply for reinstatement.

■ Lawrence Davidson, caught up in a political corruption probe a dozen years ago, pleaded guilty to mail fraud, money laundering and several other charges, including those related to his unlawful flight to Israel in 2006 to avoid standing trial. Davidson agreed to disbarment in 2005 after he was originally charged. He eventually returned to Las Vegas and was sentenced in 2012 to eight years in prison.

■ Gerry Zobrist, once a part-time Las Vegas justice of the peace, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud in a multimillion-dollar scheme to use straw buyers to unlawfully purchase homes in the valley. He was sentenced to seven years in federal prison. His law license has been suspended pending further disciplinary action.

nv judicial ethics

REASON FOR THE RISE

drunk lawyerThomas Pitaro, a respected criminal defense lawyer who has been practicing in Las Vegas for 40 years, says the stress of the legal profession likely has contributed to the rise in criminal prosecutions of attorneys.coke

“I think there are very few attorneys who steal for the hell of it,” Pitaro says. “It’s systematic of other problems — drugs, alcohol, gambling and living above their means.”

Pitaro also believes federal authorities are spending more time investigating white collar and financial crimes that have a higher probability of involving lawyers and other professionals.

Clark says his organization has stepped up its own vigilance of lawyers in recent years and has been working closely with law enforcement authorities.

“We’ve been sharing more information and developing more contacts with law enforcement,” he explains.

Clark points to the Levinson case as a prime example of the State Bar’s strong working relationship with police and federal authorities.

At one point, Las Vegas police, federal authorities and the State Bar all were working cases against Levinson at the same time, Clark says.

culture-of-corruption

In his federal deal, Levinson not only pleaded guilty in the HOA fraud case, but he also pleaded guilty to tax evasion and embezzling more than $243,000 from his clients. His deal calls for him to receive no less than two years in prison. Any time behind bars he gets in state court on theft charges will run concurrently with his federal sentence.

Levinson’s willingness to agree to disbarment in his federal plea was a first for prosecutors and the State Bar. Goldberg last year agreed to a two-year suspension in his federal plea agreement.

“It shows the evolution of our cooperation with law enforcement authorities,” Clark says.

nevada bar

NEVADA STATE BAR DISCIPLINE

Something else that is evolving is the State Bar’s approach to disciplining lawyers.

bad lawyers nevadaA Nevada Supreme Court rule says the State Bar can move to temporarily suspend a lawyer upon a “final judgment of conviction,” and the bar has waited over the years until a lawyer is sentenced. That’s when the federal courts, which see most of the criminal cases, recognize a final judgment of conviction.

But two criminal cases against lawyers, one in Clark County District Court and another in federal court, has Clark looking for temporary suspensions before sentencing.

The District Court case is against defense attorney Brian Bloomfield, who pleaded guilty in December to felony charges stemming from a fraud investigation into a sweeping courthouse counseling scheme. Bloomfield has continued to represent clients in court the past six months while waiting to be sentenced.

The federal case involves Brian Jones, who pleaded guilty in the HOA case more than two years ago and is also waiting to be sentenced. Jones has since moved to Utah and is not practicing law in Las Vegas, but his license remains active.how-our-courts-are-used-by-criminals

Last month Clark filed a petition with the state Supreme Court seeking a temporary suspension for Bloomfield while the State Bar prepares to file a complaint against him that could lead to his disbarment.

The State Bar counsel filed a similar petition last week to get Jones temporarily suspended.

Clark is hoping the Supreme Court will more clearly define the broad rule, which also allows the State Bar to seek a suspension after a guilty plea or jury conviction.

“In the past this hasn’t been so much of a problem because there hasn’t been a long disconnect between a guilty plea and a sentencing,” Clark recently said. “But lately, we’ve been seeing a greater delay.”

 

OPINION: NEVADA JUDGE TOSSES FIRST AMENDMENT OUT THE WINDOW WITH RULING – It is called prior restraint. But that doesn’t seem to stop Nevada judges.

OPINION: NEVADA JUDGE TOSSES FIRST AMENDMENT OUT THE WINDOW WITH RULING

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“Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?”
—John Milton, Areopagitica

It is called prior restraint. But that doesn’t seem to stop Nevada judges.

On the Friday before Tuesday’s primary election, a Reno judge ordered state Senate candidate Gary Schmidt to stop running a television ad that accused his Republican primary opponent, incumbent Ben Kieckhefer, of being a supporter of Harry Reid in the 2010 election, according to press accounts.

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FRAUD UPON THE COURT Reno, NV Judge Patrick Flanagan and 5 Nevada Supreme Court Justices completely fabricated an entire case

FRAUD UPON THE COURT Reno, NV Judge Patrick Flanagan and 5 Nevada Supreme Court Justices completely fabricated an entire case

The AHO (William “Bill” Kockenmeister) ignored blatant perjury that was exposed in his presence at the hearing along with fabricated evidence, including a falsified personnel evaluation that UNR had tried to submit. HR had submitted my entire personnel file previously to the AHO and he had my authentic evaluations. I didn’t initially know the full scope of the lies and deception that was part of that first hearing.

Bill Kockenmeister bribery & fraud

Bill Kockenmeister bribery & fraud

The truth trickled out over the years as my case roared along at a snail’s pace. University attorney, Assistant General Counsel Charles Hilsabeck, admitted that the personnel evaluation he was trying to submit was not genuine after we exposed it in front of the AHO. I had received “commendable” personnel evaluations all three years. The university admitted that I was one of only four head coaches to receive “commendable” evaluations all three years during my tenure. In other words, by their own admission, I was one of their top four performing coaches out of a total of sixteen head coaches. Hilsabeck had tried to replace my 2005 “commendable” evaluation with a “satisfactory” evaluation. The fabricated personnel evaluation was signed by Cindy Fox, which hurt. Jeff called out UNR in front of the AHO forcing a red-faced Hilsabeck to sheepishly withdraw the false evaluation from the evidence. Did the AHO somehow miss that exchange?! Or perhaps he was clouded by his own admission that he was a fan of the Nevada Wolf Pack.

Terri PatrawPublication Date: June 13, 2013

Playing by the rules was the only game in town as far as Terri Patraw was concerned even though it was the consensus that the town in question – Reno, Nevada – played by its own rules. Terri Patraw was a highly successful Division I soccer coach and recruiter with the requisite aggressive, scrappy personality that goes with it. When she reported wrongdoing of a fellow coach her world was turned upside down by a culture of retaliation that engulfed an entire college campus. Eventually, Athletic Director Cary Groth and others including the Nevada System of Higher Education, the university legal team and the band of mercenary attorneys that they over time amassed against her, the local media, the entire Nevada judicial system and ultimately even the NCAA would learn that she is a fighter, a winner, and not one to be intimidated. This story is straight out of today’s headlines – Lance Armstrong, Penn State, Rutgers, Mike Leach/Texas Tech, University of Miami, and others – and will turn heads nationally in the NCAA, judicial, and higher education communities.

http://www.amazon.com 

An Interesting, Easy Read
By A Soccer Mom on June 19, 2013

After reading this book I am amazed what has happened to a winning soccer coach and her soccer team at the university. It appears that the AD did not care about the soccer program nor the student athletes. How sad. After reading this book I would not want any of my children to attend the University of Nevada nor would I want them to be employed there. My eyes were opened to the corruption in the judicial system in Nevada. I am appalled to see what happened to an innocent victim. This book is an interesting, easy read. – A Soccer Mom

Nevada Corruption Exposed
By A Thinking Man on June 18, 2013

This book exposes corruption in the state of Nevada from its top university to the state’s highest courts. Amazingly, the media also fails in doing its job in ferreting out and reporting the truth.
Any college student or student who intends to go to college — especially those involved in sports — and their parents should read this book. This book will open a lot of eyes.

By karla mok on June 17, 2013
I enjoyed the read and find it highly disgusting that school and public officials that are entrusted to protect our children use their position to feed their ego and destroy values they aaid to teach our children. This kind of behavior should be exposed.

CONTENTS
Foreword – One Thousand Showers …………………………………………….9
Chapter 1 – Down the Rabbit Hole …………………………………………..11
Chapter 2 – The New Head Coach ……………………………………………22
Chapter 3 – An Upside Down World …………………………………………34
Chapter 4 – The Campus Culture ……………………………………………..46
Chapter 5 – A Game of Cat and Mouse ……………………………………..58
Chapter 6 – Embezzlement ………………………………………………………67
Chapter 7 – Public Property ……………………………………………………..73
Chapter 8 – Manufacturing Evidence …………………………………………82
Chapter 9 – Witness Tampering ………………………………………………..99
Chapter 10 – Lies, Lies, and Damn Lies ……………………………………105
Chapter 11 – Direct Admissions of Retaliation…………………………..115
Chapter 12 – Big Mouse Traps ………………………………………………..118
Chapter 13 – Hometown Justice ……………………………………………..125
Chapter 14 – A Judge in Their Pocket ………………………………………132
Chapter 15 – Deposing a Judge ……………………………………………….141
Chapter 16 – Juice Town ………………………………………………………..154
Chapter 17 – Avalanche of Lies ……………………………………………….162
Chapter 18 – Sunlight ……………………………………………………………176
Chapter 19 – Sealed Orders…………………………………………………….183
Chapter 20 – The NCAA Investigation …………………………………….194
Chapter 21 – The Media ………………………………………………………..206
Chapter 22 – Never-Ending Retaliation ……………………………………215
Afterword …………………………………………………………………………….223
Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………225

Legendary Trial Lawyer Gerry Spence Offers Advice to Young Lawyers – Statistics have shown that 20 percent of those incarcerated are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted

Spence states that he “has never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney. He has not lost a civil case since 1969.

Legendary Trial Lawyer Gerry Spence Offers Advice to Young Lawyers

 

Statistics have shown that 20 percent of those incarcerated are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted

Researchers: More than 2,000 false convictions in past 23 years

Gerald Leonard “Gerry” Spence (born January 8, 1929) is an American trial lawyer and is widely recognized as one of the greatest trial lawyers of all time. He is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame. [1] Spence states that he “has never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney. He has not lost a civil case since 1969.”[2][3] Spence did lose a criminal case in a bench trial but prevailed on appeal. Continue reading

Judging the Judges: Nevada Supreme Court Justices say they take criticism, comments to heart

nevada supreme courtThis story came out in 2011. In 2013, the Nevada Supreme Court has done little to end the rampant judicial corruption in Nevada that earned the State a D- (Judicial corruption got a D+) grade for Corruption.
Nevada is a shit hole of corruption and the Nevada Supreme Court at the top of the crap heap.
In their briefs to the Nevada Supreme Court, the DA’s office never says Kirstin Lobato is “guilty” or refutes the new evidence that proves her innocence.
Nevada Supreme Court protest

Nevada Supreme Court protest

By Ed Vogel LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL CAPITAL BUREAU

CARSON CITY — In professional sports, any team that wins 70 percent or more of its games usually is a champion, or a close runner-up. Even teams successful about 55 percent of the time frequently gain a spot in the first round of playoffs.

If this guideline applies to the judiciary, Nevada Supreme Court justices — particularly Nancy Saitta, Michael Douglas and Michael Cherry, who are up for re-election this November — should be happy with results of the 2011 Judicial Performance Evaluation, a survey of Clark County lawyers by the Review-Journal. report card

A majority of the attorneys who rated the seven current justices said each should be retained by voters. The judges serve staggered six-year terms and take turns as chief justice.

Nearly 900 attorneys, or 19 percent of active, licensed lawyers in the Las Vegas area, voluntarily responded to the survey of all Southern Nevada and statewide judges. They were asked, however, to rate only those judges with whom they had sufficient and fairly recent experience. From 281 to 397 attorneys evaluated the justices individually. The lawyers again gave their top rating to Mark Gibbons, with 83 percent saying he should be returned to office. Three others were not far behind: Ron Parraguirre had 81 percent approval, while Douglas and Cherry both scored 79 percent.

James Hardesty also had strong favorable support at 71 percent.

Further behind were the two female justices. Kristina Pickering had 63 percent support, while current Chief Justice Saitta fared poorest at 56 percent.

If past examples are any indicator, the survey’s retention scores clearly are important to the justices.

Thomas Steffen and Charles Springer didn’t run for re-election when their retention scores in the 1990s dropped into the 30s.

And while Deborah Agosti cited health reasons when she chose not to run for re-election in 2004, her announcement came two weeks after her retention score had dropped to 44 percent.

That drop came in the wake of a public furor over the court allowing the Legislature to pass tax increases without the constitutionally required two-thirds majority.

All seven current justices agreed to comment about their survey evaluations.

NANCY SAITTA

NANCY SAITTA

NANCY SAITTA

Although her retention approval was the lowest of the seven sitting justices, Saitta’s score marked an improvement over surveys in 2008 (45 percent) and 2010 (50 percent).

“I think constructive criticism is helpful,” Saitta said. “All of us take what is said about us seriously. I am very happy I have improved.”

Even when she was a district judge, however, Saitta received relatively low retention scores in surveys and still won elections.

Saitta pulled the biggest upset in the 2006 state Supreme Court elections when she defeated incumbent Nancy Becker by almost 9 percentage points.

“I work hard and I am a committed justice,” said Saitta, who intends to file for re-election Tuesday . “I am grateful for the support I received, even though the number is less than I would like it to be.”

In general, lawyers made flattering comments about Saitta. One called her compassionate, another a good activist for children, and still another said she was the “soul of the court.”

But about a third of the rating lawyers called her less than adequate on three traits closely related to knowing the law and using it well — being prepared for specific cases, applying law and rules properly, and explaining decisions. Hers were the court’s worst scores on those qualities.

MIKE CHERRY

MIKE CHERRY

MIKE CHERRY

Cherry said he believes the survey bodes well for his re-election hopes.

“I am happy with the results,” he said, noting his retention score has increased each year. “I work hard. I try to be fair. I try to do my best for the voters of Nevada.”

He quipped that lawyers who offered negative comments about him “must be people I ruled against sometime.”

In anonymous comments about the justices, most lawyers surveyed called Cherry an excellent judge, a nice guy and even a “lovely person.”

But about 20 percent said he is insufficiently free of bias toward parties or attorneys. Written comments elaborated:

“Easily swayed by high powered attorneys and clients. Way too plaintiff-oriented,” one lawyer wrote.

Another charged Cherry had a “taxpayer funded gastric bypass operation to reduce his girth.”

Cherry said that he’s never had such surgery and starts each morning with exercise.

Cherry did not face opposition when he first ran for the state Supreme Court in 2006 and does not know if he will in his re-election bid next November.

MICHAEL DOUGLAS

MICHAEL DOUGLAS

MICHAEL DOUGLAS

While Douglas would like to get a 100 percent retention score, he realizes his 79 percent is very respectable. He noted that it has improved during his years on the court.

The lawyers also give him good scores on specific judicial traits, especially courtesy and freedom from bias.

“I guess if you throw out 10 percent of the scores at the top and 10 percent at the bottom, you will find what people really think about you,” Douglas said.

Still, he said that the scores are more of a perception by lawyers on how justices are doing, because few lawyers actually appear in person before the court, yet 325 weighed in with opinions on him.

Douglas said he takes the criticism more to heart than the positive comments lawyers expressed in the survey: “You look at what they say and wonder, ‘How can I be better in what I am doing?’ ”

But most lawyers seem to consider Douglas a gentleman — polite, fair and balanced. One called him “the class of the court.”

He received a few negative comments, including one that Douglas “believes he is now above the human race.”

Douglas, the court’s first African-American justice, retained his seat in 2006 by a 12-point margin over Clark County Family Court Judge Dianne Steel. He said that he doesn’t know if he’ll have an opponent this year .

MARK GIBBONS

MARK GIBBONS

MARK GIBBONS

Gibbons has received the top retention score among justices in past surveys as well, and received high marks when he was a District Court judge, too.

“I thank the lawyers and the Review-Journal,” he said. “I try to work hard and be fair.”

Like other justices, Gibbons said he listens more to criticisms leveled by lawyers in the survey than to their compliments.

He is the only member of the court remaining from the 2003 panel that voted to suspend the state constitution and allow tax increases by a legislative majority vote of less than two-thirds.

Unlike Agosti and Becker, Gibbons was not hurt by his vote, and he won re-election in 2008 by more than a 2-to-1 margin over Frank Christensen.

Lawyers in the survey called Gibbons a solid judge, some even applying the adjectives of phenomenal or stellar. Only 4 percent said he lacks courtesy.

Few made negative comments, although one said Gibbons had to “suck up to the RJ” to win re-election after voting to suspend the two-thirds requirement.

KRISTINA PICKERINGKRISTINA PICKERING

Though pleased by positive survey comments, Pickering said that she’ll take the negative ones to heart and see if she can improve.

“All I can do is the best job I can,” said Pickering, the only justice without a background as a District Court judge. “I try to treat everyone with respect and base decisions on the legal issues as I see them.”

A longtime Clark County lawyer, Pickering was elected to the court in 2008 after a contested primary and a narrow 3 percentage point win over District Judge Deborah Schumacher of Washoe County.

While emphasizing she was “not making excuses,” Pickering said some lawyers who backed her opponent might not support her remaining on the court because of lingering resentments over that election.

But, she added, “I don’t think it is fair to expect people to give up loyalty until I earn their trust.”

Other critics, Pickering said, could be lawyers she sparred with as an attorney.

Several lawyers surveyed called her the best justice, and others remarked about her intelligence.

The primary criticism from a few lawyers was that Pickering takes pro-business positions. One lawyer called her a “corporate shill and a defense bar favorite,” and another said she favors corporations.

RON PARRAGUIRRERON PARRAGUIRRE

Parraguirre was unopposed in his November 2010 election bid, and in an email response to a question about his scores, called the survey a “helpful evaluative tool for the public” in looking at judges.

He was pleased with his high scores and most of the comments made by lawyers.

“Certainly in our profession, we cannot nor should we expect to please everyone,” he wrote. “Fifty percent of those who appear before us are not success­ful in their litigation matters.”

Parraguirre said he and other justices should try to properly apply the law, listen carefully and clearly explain their rulings. Even if litigants are not successful, they should have a sense their case was “fairly considered and given the time and attention it deserved.”

Lawyers responding to the survey said Parraguirre was a fine man, a great judge, a true professional and extremely courteous.

Few offered any negatives. One called him a “lousy politician,” which might have been intended as a compliment, considering that judges are supposed to be apolitical on the bench.

A couple of lawyers said his decisions favor insurance companies, with one lawyer calling him a “foot soldier of the insurance defense industry.”

JAMES HARDESTY

JAMES HARDESTY

JAMES HARDESTY

Hardesty is the only justice from Reno, and was unopposed in 2010 for his second term.

He said he’d have liked a higher score than his 71 percent retention rating, which was slightly lower than the 2010 survey: “I learn a lot from the comments. Having an adequate score means a great deal for me.”

Perhaps more than any other judge, Hardesty is well-known for challenging arguments advanced by lawyers before the court.

He worked closely with legislators in 2009 to establish the Foreclosure Mediation Program, a step praised by some, but criticized by others as a violation of the state constitution’s separation of powers clause.

One surveyed lawyer praised Hardesty’s work in establishing the program, saying it has helped keep homeowners in their homes.

Other lawyers’ comments mostly praised him, especially for intellect and work ethic.

Because he is from Northern Nevada, Hardesty said many Clark County attorneys do not know him as well as they do the other justices. He plans to “reach out to them” and interact more with the Southern Nevada legal community.

Contact reporter Ed Vogel at evogel@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/crime-courts/judging-judges-nevada-supreme-court-justices-say-they-take-criticism-comments

Book Review: Whitehead Revisited – The Conspiracy to Stack the Nevada Supreme Court

Jerry C WhiteheadWhitehead Revisited – The Conspiracy to Stack the Nevada Supreme Court

Book Description – Publication Date: May 2, 2007

This extraordinary exposé of corruption and intrigue in the Nevada legal profession and judiciary tells the true story of the Whitehead Case, the longest and most controversial whiteheadcase in the history of the Nevada Supreme Court.
The tale begins with the efforts by the political enemies of Nevada district court judge Jerry Carr Whitehead to eliminate him from the bench. When the Nevada Supreme Court issued an order to the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline to temporarily halt further illegal actions against Judge Whitehead, the reaction of the Discipline Commission’s members and the state’s Attorney General (with the aid of the state’s largest newspaper) was swift and furious retaliation.

Whitehead Revisited reads like a John Grisham legal thriller. When the panel of judges in the Whitehead Case appointed a Special Master to investigate numerous violations of the court’s orders, he soon uncovered an elaborate conspiracy, orchestrated by members of a prominent Nevada law firm, to eliminate Justices Charles Springer and Thomas Steffen from the Nevada Supreme Court — and to replace them with justices more “friendly” to the firm.

Attempts to unlawfully intervene in the Whitehead Case in order to stop the investigation were then made by three other Nevada Supreme Court justices (two of whom had been disqualifed from the case) and the Attorney General – all of whom were on the Special Master’s list of prime suspects in his investigation of this nefarious plot to stack the Nevada Supreme Court.

Carson City Jail lacks a required Law Library violating inmates 14th Amendment to Due Process

law booksThe Carson City Jail lacks a required Law Library and resembles a Russian Gulag.

All inmates are incarcerated with no access to a law library in the Carson City Jail (Detention Center) pursuant to NRS 211.140(b) or lawyer from the Carson City jail thus violating Due Process.

The American Correctional Association (ACA) Adult Local Detention Standards as well ACA’s Core Jail standards as a basis for your policies. Here are the two relevant standards: ACA standard 4-ALDF-6A-03 (Accreditation standards)[1]

“Inmates have access to a law library if there is not adequate free legal assistance to assist them with criminal, civil, and administrative legal matters. Inmates have access to legal materials to facilitate the preparation of documents” lady justice

ACA Standard 1-Core-6A-03  (Core Jail Standards)

“Inmates have access to legal materials”

You will want to consider what the courts have said. Take a look at the following:

Jails and the Constitution:  An Overview” NIC publication authored by William Collins available as a download from:     http://static.nicic.gov/Library/022570.pdf

Text  from page 68:

“Over the years the Supreme Court decided several access to the courts cases involving inmates. The most important came in 1977, when the Court said that prison administrators have the affirmative duty to provide inmates with assistance or resources to allow them to meaningfully exercise their right of access to the courts, Bounds v. Smith.  Assistance could take the form of persons trained in the law (such as lawyers, paralegals, or law students), adequate law libraries, or some combination of these.

A 1996 Supreme Court decision dealing with access to the courts reaffirmed the core principle in Bounds, i.e., that the institution has an affirmative duty to provide some form of assistance (libraries or persons trained in the law) sufficient to give inmates the capability of filing non-frivolous lawsuits challenging their sentence or the conditions of their confinement, Lewis v. Casey.”

Kenny Furlong“The principle from Bounds (and now Lewis) has been extended to jails, although application of the principle may be slightly different in the jail context depending in part on how long inmates remain in the jail. The longer an inmate remains in a jail, the more the right of “access to the courts” places the same demands on the jail as it does on the prison”

The fundamental constitutional right of access to the courts requires prison authorities to assist inmates in the preparation and filing of meaningful legal papers by providing prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law.  This quote is taken from Bounds v. Smith (430 U.S. 817), the 1977 landmark Supreme Court decision, which led to the establishment of law libraries in most major U.S. prisons.

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees state inmates the right to “adequate, effective, and meaningful” access to the courts. Bounds v. Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 822, 97 S.Ct. 1491, 1495, 52 L.Ed.2d 72 (1977); Green v. Johnson, 977 F.2d 1383, 1389 (10th Cir.1992). We impose “affirmative obligations” on the states to assure all inmates access to the courts and assistance in the preparation and filing of legal papers. Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F.2d 559, 583 (10th Cir.1980), cert. denied, 450 U.S. 1041, 101 S.Ct. 1759, 68 L.Ed.2d 239 (1981).

The Supreme Court instructs that states may satisfy this duty “by providing prisoners with adequate law libraries or adequate assistance from persons trained in the law.” Bounds, 430 U.S. at 828, 97 S.Ct. at 1498. Although this constitutional obligation does not require states to afford inmates unlimited access to a library, Twyman v. Crisp, 584 F.2d 352, 358 (10th Cir.1978), and there exists no rigid or static formula to assess whether a prison library’s resources pass constitutional muster, Johnson v. Moore, 948 F.2d 517, 521 (9th Cir.1991), states must provide inmates with “a reasonably adequate opportunity” to present their legal claims.

Public has right to know Nevada public pension expenses

…the taxpaying public is on the hook for a long-term bailout of between $10 billion and $40 billion

Last week, pension reform died in the Nevada Legislature.

This week, the cause gets new life in Carson City — not before lawmakers, but in front of the Nevada Supreme Court in the state’s most important public records case in years. Continue reading

Nevada Supreme Court rebukes judge for too-harsh treatment of defendant

LVRJ logo

john tatro rebukeNevada Supreme Court rebukes judge for too-harsh treatment of defendant

The Supreme Court should rebuke Carson City Judge John Tatro by what he did to Ty Robben by retaliating against Robben with a $500,000.00 dollar bail and 22 days in jail for trumped up charges related to serving a subpoena to former NDOT Director Susan Martinovich who had actually committed a “hit and run” by running over Robben’s foot!

The Carson City Sheriff covered up the incident and the Sheriff, DA Neil Rombardo and Judge Tatro lashed out at Robben, poisoned his jail food and then sent Nevada “bounty hunters” after Robben in Lake Tahoe, CA. Now Robben has filed criminal charges against the Justin Brothers Bail Bond company, their bounty hunter named Doug Lewis. Robben has a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Justin Bros and he’s filed a Judicial Ethics complaint against the Judge Tatro. Tatro and DA Rombardo continue the relentless retaliation against Robben and are trying to have him incarcerated once again!

Robben is fighting back with massive protests in Carson City Nevada in front of the courthouse and State capital including the Nevada Supreme Court with big signs demanding Judge Tatro and DA Rombardo resign.

The Nevada Supreme Court better clean up the lower courts in Nevada, including the Justice Courts. Most people do not know that a case from the Justice Court can only be appealed to the District Court in most cases, not the Supreme Court. People can suffer serious damage by a deranged Justice Court Judge (as happens in Carson City John Tatro’s court) – have no “trial” with a jury and only appeal to the District Court Judge who is as corrupt as the Justice Court Judge… No oversight and people are very, very outraged about the “manifest abuse of desecration” and flagerant  abuse of authority by acting under the color of law.

The Supreme Court wants a Nevada appellate court and they want voters to shell out millions of tax dollars to fund the scheme. With the recent D- corruption grade Nevada received by the center for Pubic Integrity in 2012, the Supreme MUST CLEAN UP and remove corrupt judges!

The Supreme Court order can be found here: PEREZ (JUAN) VS. DIST. CT. (STATE)

While the District Court, arguably, could have justified jailing Perez under its
contempt power, it violated these plain rules, It never formally held Perez in contempt.
It did not enter an order detailing the contemptuous behavior or specifying the
punishment. It did not cite Perez for criminal contempt or prove it beyond a reasonable
doubt. Instead, the Court summarily remanded him for displaying attitude and held him
without bail. Then in response to Perez’s motion for release or reinstatement of his
previously-posted bail, the Court increased his bail from $3,000,00 to $1,000,000,00
(which is tantamount to no bail given Perez’s financial ability), Other than Perez’s
alleged attitude, the record reveals no reason to warrant good cause for the increase.
The issue presented here does not simply concern the so-called fine print of
constitutional and statutory provisions on bail.

The deeper issue is guarding our founding principle that this is a government of laws, not of men, Rule of law means the “supremacy of regular power as opposed to arbitrary power.” Garner, Bryan A. (Editor in Chief), Black’s Law Dictionary, Abridged 9th Edition, p, 1137, (West Publishing Company, 2010). Permitting a court to increase bail based on a defendant’s demeanor is the mark of arbitrary power, Allowing it to justify its decision after the fact and under the guise of a defendant’s criminal history also exemplifies arbitrary power. Approving this under the court’s contempt power but relieving the court of its due process obligations prevents the ability to even review for capricious incarcerations, Our State in particular-with an elected judiciary-prizes accountability and safeguards against
misuses of judicial power, See Goldman v, Nevada Comm’n on Judicial Discipline, 108
Nev. 251, 256 (1992) (“Nevadans have historically manifested a pronounced sensitivity to potential abuses of judicial power.”); see also Houston v, Eighth Judicial Dist, Court I ex rel. County of Clark, 122 Nev. 544, 553 (2006) (noting contempt power should be  used with care and circumspection).

No matter a defendant’s insolence, the rule of law still protects him. Despite the daily challenge of presiding over rude defendants with poor attitudes, the rule of law does not accept misbehavior becoming the basis for setting bail.

…Petitioner later appeared in district court for the appointment of counsel after his retained attorney withdrew from representation. After petitioner thanked the district court for appointing new counsel, the district court informed the petitioner, “You’re remanded.
Thank you. An attitude like that, you can sit in jail.” Petitioner remained in jail for fifteen days without bail. Upon petitioner’s motion for setting of reasonable bail, the district court reiterated that petitioner had a “terrible attitude in court.” Petitioner apologized. The district court then denied petitioner’s request for bail citing his prior narcotics-related convictions, failure to appear in court twelve years earlier in a different case, and prior use of multiple social security numbers and aliases. After petitioner’s court appointed public defender made a second request for bail to be set, the district court set bail at $1,000,000. At a subsequent hearing to stay the proceedings so that the petitioner could file this petition, the district court instructed petitioner’s counsel to make sure to inform this court about petitioner’s “attitude” in district court. The Nevada Constitution guarantees the people of Nevada the right to bail in non-capital offenses and prohibits the district court from imposing excessive bail. See Nev. Const. art. 1, §§ 6 and 7; see also NRS 178.484(1) (“[A] person arrested for an offense other than murder of the first degree must be admitted to bail.” (emphasis added)); St. Pierre v. Sheriff, 90 Nev. 282, 286, 524 P.2d 1278, 1280 (1974) (“[O]ur Constitution does not encompass inclusion of a non-capital offense as non-bailable.”). “This traditional right to freedom before conviction permits the unhampered preparation of a defense, and serves to prevent the infliction of punishment prior to conviction.” Stack v. Boyle, 342 U.S. 1, 4 (1951). In deciding a reasonable amount for bail the district court may consider “the nature of the offense charged, the penalty which may be inflicted, the probability of the appearance of the accused, his pecuniary condition, his character and reputation, and the circumstances surrounding the case relative to the likelihood of conviction.” Ex parte Jagles and Varnes, 44 Nev. 370, 195 P. 808 (1921); see also NRS 178.498; NRS 178.4853. However, “Bail must not be. . . more than the accused can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to give, for if so it is substantially a denial of bail.” Ex parte Malley, 50 Nev. 248, 253, 256 P. 512, 514 (1927).
Our review of the record reveals that the district court violated the Nevada Constitution in two ways. It denied the petitioner bail for fifteen days and then imposed a bail amount which greatly exceeded the amount the petitioner could reasonably be expected to pay. As the real party in interest notes in its answering brief, the district court imposed a bail amount that was fifty times greater than the Clark County standard bail schedule for category B felonies. In light of the district court’s failure to consider all of the relevant factors, see NRS 178.498, its stated reason for remanding petitioner to custody, petitioner’s indigent status, and the amount of bail, we can only conclude that the district court was attempting to punish petitioner for his attitude without utilizing the procedures provided for in Nevada law. See NRS 22.030(1) (explaining when a person may be punished summarily for contempt); NRS 22.010 (defining contempt). For these reasons, we conclude that the district court manifestly abused its discretion by remanding petitioner to custodywithout bail for fifteen days and imposing excessive bail. See State v.Dist. Ct. (Armstrong), 127 Nev. , 267 P.3d 777, 779-80 (2011)
(discussing when a writ of mandamus will issue). We therefore

ORDER the petition GRANTED AND DIRECT THE CLERK OF THIS COURT TO ISSUE A WRIT OF MANDAMUS instructing the district court to vacate its order setting bail at $1,000,000, set bail at the original amount imposed by the justice court, and recuse itself from presiding over this matter.
Hardesty,  cc: Chief Judge, Eighth Judicial District Hon. Doug

By FRANCIS MCCABE – LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

rjDistrict Court Judge Doug Smith didn’t like the way Juan Perez said “Thank you.” – So the judge locked Perez up in jail for 15 days and then raised his bail from $3,000 to $1 million.

On Tuesday, the Nevada Supreme Court rebuked Smith, ordering Perez’s bail returned to $3,000 and the case moved to another judge’s courtroom.

The district court manifestly abused its discretion by remanding (Perez) to custody without bail for fifteen days and imposing excessive bail,” stated the Supreme Court order signed by justices Michael Cherry, James Hardesty and Ron Parraguirre.

Continue reading

Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline does little to STOP Corruption

Judge James E. Wilson Jr. Carson City corruption

Judge James E. Wilson Jr. Carson City corruption

The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline does little to STOP Corruption. I filed a complaint about Carson City District Court Judge James E. Wilson Jr. (a Mormon) and his involvement with the backdating scandal from 2012.The scandal included fabricated and withheld evidence, edited transcripts, perjury and more.

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and her crony named Ann McDermott from Las Vegas along with the court clerk are implicated in the scandal.

Reno KRNV News 4 covered that story here on a “Fact Finder”. See it here.

As usual, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline failed to mail my response to the correct mailed address and coverup the scandal for their cronies.

We feel the “public concern” is paramount and we’ll take the issue to the streets exposing this corrupt Judge and the  corrupt Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline cover up. Look for new signs exposing these scumbags…

We feel the Nevada Supreme Court is the premier location for these protests with the current Legislative session going on and TV news crews all over the place.

Catherine Cortez Masto

Click to Play Video

The above video is the KRNV TV news 4 Fact Finder on

James E. Wilson Jr. Backdating Scandal

This video on youtube shows the rampant corruption in the court systems.  This is a brief preview of an incomplete documentary about the abuses of America’s Justice system, particularly in the family courts

Judicial Ethics Complaint filed against Carson City Judge John Tatro by Ty Robben

nv judicial ethics

Judicial Ethics Complaint filed against Carson City Judge John Tatro by Ty Robben

Commission Case No. _______________________
(For Commission use only)
Carson City Judge John Tatro

Carson City Judge John Tatro

NEVADA COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE

VERIFIED STATEMENT OF COMPLAINT

Part I: General Information

Date of This Form: April 06, 2013

Name of Person Completing This Form:  Ty Robben

Mailing Address of Person Completing This Form: CONFIDENTIAL

Daytime Telephone Number To Contact You: CONFIDENTIAL

Part II: Specific Information Regarding Complaint

Name of Nevada Judicial Officer (Only One Name Per Complaint Form): John Tatro.

Name of Court or Judicial District Involved:  Carson City Justice Court.

Case Number (Please Include All Letters and Numbers): 12-5139

This Case Is (Select One): _Pending In Trial Court On Appeal Not Pending or Closed

Nature of Complaint (Select One):   I Have Used The Standard Complaint Supplementary Form

Code of Judicial Conduct Section(s) Violated, If Known [(Example: Canon 3B(4)]:

Canon 1 Rule 1.1ComplianceWith the Law. A judge shall comply with the law, including the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Canon 1 Rule 1.2  PromotingConfidence in the Judiciary. A judge shall act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

Canon 1 Rule1.3 Avoiding Rule Abuse of the Prestige of Judicial Office. A judge shall not   abuse the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others, or allow others to do so.

Canon 2 Rule 2.2 Impartiality and Fairness. A judge shall uphold and apply the law, and shall   perform all duties of judicial office fairly and impartially.

Canon 2 Rule 2.3 Bias, Prejudice, and Harassment.

Canon 2 Rule 2.6 Ensuring the Right to Be Heard.

Canon 2 Rule 2.9 Ex Parte Rule Communications.

Canon 2 Rule 2.11 Disqualification.

Canon 2 Rule 2.14 Disability and Impairment. A judge having a reasonable belief that the   performance of a lawyer or another judge is impaired by drugs or alcohol, or by a mental, emotional, or physical condition, shall take appropriate action, which may include a confidential referral to a lawyer or judicial assistance program.

Canon 2 Rule 2.16 Cooperation With Rule Disciplinary Authorities.

carson city courthouse

carson city courthouse

STANDARD COMPLAINT SUPPLEMENTARY FORM (STATEMENT OF FACTS)

The following is my explanation as to why the judicial officer named in this complaint has violated the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct or suffers from a disability.

I am [select one]: [X] one of the litigants

The judge did the following things that I believe constitute misconduct (please be as specific as possible about the event or action and attach additional pages, if required).

nevada crime scene

I am writing this judicial ethics compliant against the very, very corrupt and impaired Justice of the Peace (“JP”) John Tatro of the Carson City Justice Court. “JP Tatro is not a well man.” Says my lawyer William Routsis recalling an episode of JP Tatro yelling, frothing at the mouth and lunging over the bench at Mr. Routsis. The incident was caught on the court audio/video. JP Taro has a long history of judicial complaints and violations of the Judicial Code of Conduct (“NCJC”) including a similar complaint in 2006 against JP Tatro by activist Tonja Brown. Ms. Brown and I are both ANTI Corruption activists in Carson City, NV and have protested against the Carson City courthouse. Both of us have had negative experiences with courthouse Department of Alternative Sentencing (“DAS”) $$ A FOR PROFIT ENTERPRISE $$  The DAS is also known as the (“KGB”). Ms. Brown was abused and arrested by the DAS for alleged “trespassing” into the courthouse to refresh herself! The courthouse is a public building.

Judge Tatro Carson City Corruption

Judge Tatro Carson City Corruption

Both Ms. Brown and I have protested and filed complaints against JP Tatro for his flagrant disregard for the law, the constitution and the NCJC as well as using DAS and the Justin Brothers Bail Bondsmen and their “Bounty Hunters” to illegally cross the State line into So. Lake Tahoe, CA and acting in concert with DAS and JP Tatro to act under the color of law and “serve a warrant” for the Carson City, Nevada, Justice Court JP John Tatro and his DAS – illegally and with callous and total disregard for the law and my rights and the rights of others in the State of California.

Judicial ethics complaint filed against Justice of Peace Tatro

Geoff Dornan –  Appeal Capitol Bureau Continue reading

Letters to the Editor of RGJ and NV Appeal – Why Nevada needs to clean up the corruption, not a new appellate court

The Las Vegas Sun ran a story about the Nevada Supreme Court and the need for an appeals court. Our position is the Nevada should clean up the lower courts first since Nevada ranks near the bottom of the list for corruptibility. See Mike Weston’s Letter to the Editor of the Reno and Carson City newspapers.

RGJ Opnion

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opinion shopLetters to the Editor:

Clean up the lower courts and the corruption. Nevada received a D- grade on the Center for Public Integrity study in 2012 indicating rampant corruption. Nevada was one of the worst State in the Union. Time after time we hear the horror stories of judges running amuck and acting above the law by acting under the color of law to carry out vendettas and help the good ol boy network.

The road kill includes the likes of Las Vegas Judge Kathy Kathy Halverson, Reno Judge Jerry Carr Whitehead, Douglas Co Judge Jim EnEarl. New controversy is happening in Reno and Carson City with Judges Scott Pearson and John Tatro where the law is completely ignored and justice is obstructed in the cases of Reno resident Mike Weston and ANTI-Corruption activist Ty Robben from So. Tahoe, and formally Carson City, NV.

We’re getting attention, and we have the “Worlds Largest CRIME SCENE tape” and 4 foot tall by 150 long bright yellow banner and other massive signs like “John Tatro End the RAMPANT Corruption” and “Masto Backdates” and “Treason is a Capital crime”.

Both of us have been “demanding justice” using the legal system, however the system is broken. Judge Pearson is ignoring the DA Dick Gammick’s willingness to vacate and expunge a trumped up charge from over 8 years ago and now admits NHP edited the audio video dash cam footage!

Ty Robben has filed criminal, civil and judicial ethics complaints in his cases involving Judge Tatro.

Las Vegas Sun Brian Sandoval Security beefed up

Why Nevada needs a new appellate court

Sens. Tick Segerblom and Mark Hutchison

Friday, March 22, 2013 | 2:02 a.m.

Article 6 of the Nevada Constitution currently provides for one appellate court — the Supreme Court. Every single appeal from decisions rendered by Nevada’s 82 District Courts must be reviewed by the Supreme Court. This two-tier court structure has resulted in a staggering caseload for the Nevada Supreme Court, and the delay of justice — sometimes by years — for Nevada citizens. Continue reading

Director of Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline David Sarnowski retiring

nv judicial ethics

David Sarnowski, general counsel and executive director of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, is retiring after 32 years in state service. Sarnowski has been in his present post for 11 years and said he doesn’t know what he will do after leaving state government June 30, 2013. His retirement was disclosed at a meeting of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee on Friday.

The commission will select a replacement for the job, which pays $137,145 a year.

tatro judgeWe’re reviewing Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline and previous complaint against Carson City judges like 2006 Nevada Appeal Judicial ethics complaint filed against Justice of Peace Tatro. Look for new complaints against Judge Tatro to be filed and shown here ASAP. We see “Judge” Tatro abusing his “authority” by acting under the color of law and  committing “crimes against humanity and public decency”.

Why in the world does the Nevada Supreme Court allow these so called “judges” (Tatro has no law degree) to act in this manner when they are trying to convince taxpayers to support a new Intermediate Appeals Court in Nevada?

A Carson City woman who previously accused bailiffs at the capital’s district court of violating her rights, manhandling, and injuring her during an arrest has filed a complaint with the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline accusing Justice of the Peace John Tatro of bias.Tonya Brown last month lost her lawsuit in federal court against the city and the bailiff who arrested her for trespassing.Brown said she believes Tatro was biased against her in her justice court trial on the trespass charges in which she was convicted. She said Tatro’s comments were so biased that, during her federal court civil-rights trial, …

Carson City Judge Tatro

Carson City Judge Tatro

Continue reading

Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry acknowledges Nevada is corrupt and needs help

Nevada Supreme Court

Nevada Supreme Court

We read this story in the Elko Daily and we agree with Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry that Nevada constantly  violates citizens constitutional rights, however the problem is rampant in all areas of Nevada and especially Carson City with are not necessarily considered “rural” as  Justice Michael Cherry has focused is attention.  Also, Reno and Las Vegas have rampant problems regardless of this report and the problem is not just with “indigent” people (people with no money) – it happens to people with money too.

Justice Michael Cherry

Justice Michael Cherry

March 25, 2013 CARSON CITY (AP) — Nevada  Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry is pressing for state action to ensure indigent criminal defendants in rural counties have access to lawyers. His request coincides with last week’s release of a report that found poor suspects may be held in rural Nevada jails for weeks or even months before they are able to talk to a defense lawyer.

elko

 

The study by the Boston-based Sixth Amendment Center found most rural counties not only have a limited number of attorneys, but they lack the money to pay the lawyers. The report was presented to the Indigent Defense Commission of the Nevada Supreme Court, which will hold a hearing on the issue, the Las Vegas Sun reported. The study was commissioned by the court.

The report detailed Nevada’s first-in-the-nation status of requiring the appointment and payment of legal counsel in all cases, and how rural counties lost that commitment beginning in the mid-1970s.

“Nevada’s rural counties simply cannot shoulder the state’s obligations under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution any longer,” Cherry said in a statement. “Judicial, legislative, and executive action is needed to restore Nevada’s historic and deep-rooted commitment to equal justice to the poor. We need to fix this problem now,” he added. Cherry called for a state-funded, state-administered independent commission overseeing services in rural areas.

The problem does not exist in the state’s two most populous counties, Clark and Washoe, which have public defenders’ offices. According to the report, an individual defendant may be one of several hundred vying at the same time for the attention of a single attorney. It also found overburdened attorneys often have financial conflicts that pit their ability to earn a living against their ethical duty to advocate solely in the best interests of clients. The Sixth Amendment gives rights to criminal defendants, including the right to a speedy trial and the right to have a lawyer.

 

source: http://elkodaily.com/news/study-indigent-defendants-lack-access-to-lawyers/article_7067caf6-9574-11e2-88f0-001a4bcf887a.html

Tahoe Mountain News covers Ty Robben’s South Lake Tahoe Police protest

Lake Tahoe News covers South Lake Tahoe Police protest by Ty Robben.  We will updated this story with links to evidence, videos, pictures, court filings and police reports and correspondence.

See the story at http://www.mountainnews.net/201302/#/1

Lake Tahoe News covers South Lake Tahoe Police protest by Ty Robben
Lake Tahoe News covers South Lake Tahoe Police protest by Ty Robben

South Lake Tahoe Police protest

SLTPD police protest story 1SLTPD police protest story 2SLTPD police protest story 34

Nevada State Personnel Watch gets over 10,000 hits worldwide

Our little Nevada ANTI-Corruption website has taken off and we’re celebrating our success with more updates and future demonstrations to promote the movement. We simply started the ANTI-Corruption movement as a grassroots effort with one cardboard sign and a cause to stand up to the corruption and relation in Nevada that has affected us personally.  We networked with other people who were also victims of Nevada’s web-of-corruption. See our stories – Mike Weston (Mike’s LawlessAmerica story) – Tonja BrownTy Robben (Lawless America video being produced and coming soon to expose the demonic rampant wholesale corruption in Nevada). Then there was the a new issue and cover-up by State of Nevada officials explained by Reno, NV KRNV mynews4.com NEWS. For now, please see our 2012 ANTI-Corruption Summer 2012 video.

https://nevadastatepersonnelwatch.wordpress.com

We made professional signs and a one-of-a-kind 150 long X 4 foot tall CRIME SCENE BANNER and protested in front of the Nevada State Capitol buildings in the spring and summer of 2012.  Stay tuned as NV ANTI-Corruption adapts to our new version 2.0 round of protesting and exposing corruption in Nevada. We’re also covering other Nevada, U.S. and world issues on this website to attract a wider audience to broader issues covered by Infowars, Lawless America  and others. To all united against tyranny and treason, we salute you.

Nevada ANTI-Corruption you-tube videos

NV ANTI corruption videos

Our youtube videos have also gone viral with over 50,000 hits and we’re in Lawless America the movie. Thank you for your support and please keep coming back to the NevadaStatePersonnelWATCH.wordpress.com website.

 

 

 

 

Sundance Film festival 2013 Lawless America

Sundance Film festival 2013 Lawless America

Are you aware some how Bill Windsor in all his splendor has the Lawless America the Movie Promos tied into the 2013 Sundance Film Festival? 

View here Sundance Film FestivalSUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL VIDEOS.

 

 

 

Guy Felton's youtube channel

Guy Felton’s youtube channel

Please see our friend Guy Felton’s youtube “Nevadagate” series on Nevada Corruption with links posted below in this posting. Guy has put together about 10 videos explaining his perspective on the rampant, wholesale corruption in Nevada.  Topics include Judicial Corruption, Government Corruption to include AG Masto, Gov. Sandoval and much more.  Guy goes wide and deep into the issues and calls out these corrupt and criminal politicians.

Guy Felton’s youtube “Nevadagate” series on Nevada Corruption
Nevada government is permeated with a culture of corruption. Members of the state legislature meet for only 4 months every other year. This does not permit anything close to proper administration of the public affairs of Nevada’s 2.7-million residents.  Members of the upcoming 2013 legislative session are asked to answer tough-but-fair questions which might force changes for the better.
Part 2 of at least 3 intended parts

Nevada Intermediate Court of Appeals Amendment – Why not get the lower courts right first?

Nevada is one of only 10 states + DC without an intermediate appellate court. Like many other states, the state’s constitutional article related to the judiciary locks the state into a supreme court, district courts, justice of the peace courts, and (if the legislature approves, which it has), municipal courts. In 1980 and 1992 voters rejected efforts to amend the constitution to allow, but not require, the legislature to create an intermediate appellate. A third attempt in 2010 (Question 2) was rejected 47/53%.

Nevada judges are some of the highest paid in the Nation.

Nevada’s jurists are well compensated in comparison to their counterparts in other states, according to a 2011 report by the National Center for State Courts (NCSC). Judges for the state Supreme Court are paid $170,000 annually, which puts Nevada well above the average and 10th on the list of best-paying states. The median salary for state Supreme Court justices across the United States is $146,917.

According to transparentnevada.com Carson City judges are paid (2011) as follows:

John Tatro: $125,707.40 *

Tom Armstrong: $66,393.76 (partial pay from 2011) *

James Todd Russell: $172,080.96 *

James Wilson: $159,561.74 *

Carson City DA Neil Rombardo made $162,641.05 in 2011 *

Carson City Department of “Alternative Sentencing” Chief Rory Planetamade $147,909.99 in 2011. 

Other “Alternative Sentencing” public servants are paid very, very well and others not:

Catherine “Maddog” Summers was paid $113,597.47 in 2011.

Martin Hale was only paid $33,073.80 in 2011.

* This does not include bribes, kickbacks and other RICO Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act – “payments” that remain unreported.

A Carson City Justice/Municipal Court “Judge” (Justice of the Peace “JP”) only requires an education level of a High School Diploma – No higher education is required like say a degree in law!

From Carsonnow.org: The qualifications to be a candidate are established by Nevada State Law, (NRS 4.010) which states that a Justice of the Peace for Carson City must:

— Be a qualified elector

— Not have been removed from judicial office by the Legislature or removed or retired from judicial office by the Commission on Judicial Discipline

— Have a high school diploma or its equivalent as determined by the State Board of Education

— Reside in Carson City

The base pay range for the Justice of the Peace/Municipal Judge is $75,000 to $105,257.36 per year. The actual starting salary will be determined by the Carson City Board of Supervisors and will be based on the successful applicant’s education and experience.

California pays its high court judges the most of any state, with annual salaries of $218,237. But the pay scale varies widely for jurists in Nevada’s other neighboring states. Arizona pays its Supreme Court judges $155,000, while Utah pays them $145,350. The annual salary for high court judges in Oregon is $125,688, while Idaho pays just $119, 506.In general jurisdiction trial courts, Nevada judges are paid $160,000. The state is ranked 8th on the generosity list in this category. he median salary for general trial courts across the United States is $132,500.

The Survey of Judicial Salaries is published by the NCSC with information provided by state court administrative offices across the United States. The NCSC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the modernization of court operations and the improvement of justice at the state and local levels throughout the country. It functions as an extension of the state court systems.

The Nevada Intermediate Court of Appeals Amendment may appear on the 2014 ballot in the state of Nevada as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure would establish an intermediate court of appeals in the state. State Senator Michael Roberson claimed that the state’s courts are overloaded with cases, which is why the measure is being proposed. If approved, the court would use existing facilities to operate. According to reports, the measure’s $1.3 million cost would be used for salaries and other staff requirements.

A similar measure was found on the November 2, 2010 statewide general election ballot, where it was rejected by voters.

Nevada must get its judicial act together before Taxpayers allow millions more tax dollars to fuel the troubled Nevada judicial industrial complex.

Citizens and Taxpayers must demand competent judges that follow the laws and the constitutions of the United States and Nevada.

In January 2012 the Las Vegas Review Journal did a series of stories called “Judging the Judges”: Nevada high court justices again ask for appeals court

See the excellent LVRJ Story here: http://www.lvrj.com/news/judging-the-judges-nevada-high-court-justices-again-ask-for-appeals-court-136498223.html

Here are some of the reader comments:

Nevada judicial reform

Nevada judicial reform

We propose these standards as presented for the worst State, Georgia: http://www.lawlessamerica.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=716:candidate-for-judge-introduces-state-legislation-designed-to-reform-the-legal-and-judicial-process-changes-desperately-needed-part-1&catid=104:initiatives&Itemid=105

The business-as-usual methodology in Nevada’s courts must change.  Nevada received a D- grade for CORRUPTION from the Center for public integrity in 2012. The “Judicial Accountability” section got a D+ grade and this is unacceptable and must not be rewarded by expanding an already corrupt system.

Nevada corruption report card 2012

Nevada corruption report card 2012