Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Primary Guide: District Court Department 20

With early voting starting on Saturday, here's your chance to weigh in on which of the 4 candidates for Department 20 should get your vote:

  • Holper, Scott Michael
  • Johnson, Eric
  • Levy, Anat "Annette"
  • Ramsey, Catherine
Also, feel free to discuss the transcript of the exchange that led to Judge Conrad Hafen ordering public defender Zohra Bakhtary be placed in handcuffs.

78 comments:

  1. Gobblygook. The transcript is unreadable.

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  2. I don't think I've had a judge call me by my first name during a proceeding. There's something to the etiquette of it all that makes me concerned in the transcript that the first name of the attorney was being used. Could be that the judge couldn't be bothered to pronounce a middle eastern name...? It's not a great exchange either way, though. Why not trail it to get the documentation as offered, I don't know.

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    1. Couldn't be bothered to say "Villani", either, since he called the DDA "Jake."

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    2. What do you think the result would have been if the DDA and DPD had continually responded by calling say "You know Conrad, I think you are wrong." I am 100% in favor of decorum and giving the Court respect and treating the proceedings as honorable. But when the Judge is not treating the proceedings with due respect, it makes it difficult for anyone to give the Court respect. Run a kangaroo court; do not get upset when it is full of kangaroos.

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    3. He requires the men to wear ties. You don't have one, he has one for you.

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    4. There's men that don't wear ties to court?

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    5. Yes, they wear sweater vests.

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  3. With the exception of the handcuffs, this is a pretty typical exchange in Judge Hafen's court. By this I mean that once he has made up his mind about what to do, he has no patience to listen to any further argument. The transcript practically screams his mind made up to impose the 6 month sentence as soon as he heard that the defendant had been cited for another offense.

    While there is no doubt that the Defendant would be incarcerated by Judge Hafen at that point, Ms. Bakhtary had a duty to her client to finish her argument.

    The most important argument that was shut down by the Judge--shut down with handcuffs--is that the proceedings should be stayed to determine if there was probable cause for the citation of the new offense.

    The Defendant was under a "stay out of trouble" order. An arrest or citation that is not supported by probable cause should never be a violation of such an order.

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    1. She had an absolute duty to her client to make the argument, and the judge had an absolute duty to accord her due respect by listening to it. Putting the defendant's lawyer in handcuffs under these circumstances is not excusable. She (or her boss if he is not spineless) should bring this to the Judicial Discipline Commission.

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    2. Your argument would be better if she hadn't conceded that the citation was "absolutely a violation of his stay out of trouble." She was requesting leniency. She also didn't want Hafen to recite the leniency that (in his opinion) had been shown. If anything, it just showed Hafen suffers from small-penis syndrome. e.g., (paraphrasing) "People laugh at judges. Well, they don't laugh here, missy. They don't laugh at me." The fact that he was using unproven charges to justify his conduct is despicable.

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    3. The perp had no proof he fulfilled the conditions of his release. He also was busted committing the same crime again. The judge does not have to wait for a conviction to send the perp to jail on the original charge.

      The dimwit PD should have graciously accepted his offer to trail and then asked for more time. But she had to swing her big dick around the courtroom and then cry like a little girl when the judge smacked that thing back.

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    4. You do have to have a hearing prior to revocation. Quit swimming in the crim pool if you don't know WTF you're talking about. And "perp"? really?

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  4. Annette Levy is the best choice for Dept. 20. She's really level headed, she's had a lot of life experience that makes her understanding but firm, and she's likable to both plaintiffs and defendants. I hope she wins.

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    1. I am voting for Levy. No Eric Johnson here.

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    2. Levy gets my vote. No crony there like the Johnsons...

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    3. #NotfeelingtheJohnsons

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    4. Per Rolando so take it for what it is worth, Levy's office in Las Vegas is a mailbox etc. type place on West Charleston and her fax number listed is for the Marina Del Ray, CA area.

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    5. Maybe she's a Lincoln Lawyer?

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  5. Thank you Annette. Levy does not stand a chance. Johnson will win hands down. I am voting for him. He has shown he can handle the transition from a federal prosecutor to a state judge. Levy is a Californian. What trial experience does she have.

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    1. Well I am not voting for Johnson nor are my friends/family. So if someone wants to explain who'd be better please do so! For now I figure Ramsey is the best of the bunch.

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    2. Why do people who clearly stand no chance bother to run for these positions? Is it on the off chance that the incumbent gets indicted or hit by a train right before the election? Ramsey I can understand as she at least has an ax to grind. Annette Levy is someone I have never heard of in 20-plus years and who is not even listed in the current Nevada Legal Directory as far as I can tell.

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    3. Johnson is terrible.

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    4. BTW, Eric Johnson prosecuted some of the toughest bad ass defendants and cases like the motorcycle gangs. You have to respect anyone who takes on cases like that. You place yourself and your family in harm's way.

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    5. Levy's link to her application does not work. Annette can you fix that for us?

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    6. I think Annette Levy will win. Johnson sucks.

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    7. 9:24 here. Not Anat. Crap. Not sure how to link to a pdf. Well, it was on the first page of google results for Anat Levy.

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    8. @9:37-- Eric Johnson was a corrupt terror in the AUSA's office. He was responsible for egregious errors in cases. I have zero respect for him as an attorney. I have zero respect for him as a Judge.

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    9. Why do people who clearly stand no chance bother to run for these positions? Is it on the off chance that the incumbent gets indicted or hit by a train right before the election? Ramsey I can understand as she at least has an ax to grind. Annette Levy is someone I have never heard of in 20-plus years and who is not even listed in the current Nevada Legal Directory as far as I can tell.

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    10. Supporting Annette. No corruption on the bench. Vote Eric Johnson out.

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    11. Glen Lerner, who supports Eric Johnson is in the Directory, and that doesn't mean I am going to vote for him.

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  6. On the Hafen issue. Much ado about nothing. The Judge ordered her to stop, he was going to mete out the sentence. She continued arguing. He put her in cuffs for thirty minutes and she was released. I don't think anything will come of it. The baby PD is making a big deal out of nothing.

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    1. That's how I see it.

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    2. Really 9:14? Imagine you are in the courtroom with your retained client. You interrupt the judge twice and find yourself in handcuffs while the judge enters judgment against your client. You have other clients in the courtroom watching all this and the judge tells the bailiff to take the cuffs off because you have "learned your lesson" and the judge makes you represent those clients to the end of the calendar. No big deal?

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    3. at 9:14, your above hypothetical is not what occurred in this case. She did not simply interrupt the judge "twice."

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    4. You're right. She didn't interrupt the judge at all.

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    5. She definitely should have been reprimanded. Maybe even sanctioned. The handcuffs are pretty serious, and maybe one step too far. I've seen Judge Mahan threaten a prosecutor with the same outcome and the AUSA jumped right in line.

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    6. Read the transcript 11:31 and 11:37

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    7. 11:31 here -- I did. And for those who haven't here is the relevant portion.

      The COURT:... I'm going to take a few minutes and we're going to explain everything because I'm going to debunk this theory of yours. Okay, Zohra? Just so everybody knows, this defendant was
      charged with a felony and a gross misdemeanor. Okay?

      MS. BAKHTARY: Judge, I would ask the Court not to --

      THE COURT: Zohra, be quiet.

      MS. BAKHTARY: Judge, you're asking --

      THE COURT: Zohra --

      MS. BAKHTARY: You're making --

      THE COURT: Do you want to be found in contempt?

      MS. BAKHTARY: Judge, you're asking --

      THE COURT: Zohra, be quiet. Now. Not another word.

      MS. BAKHTARY: Judge, you're --

      THE COURT: Travis, right now. I'm tired of it. Right now.

      As apparent, the Judge was going to explain his rationale for what he was about to do (sentence the defendant to serve his time). This is the moment attorneys stop arguing and listen. If the PD wanted to make a further record, wouldn't it have been better for her to listen to the Judge's rationale, then argue counterpoints? But instead she interrupts with what appears to be a request that her client not be sentenced to serve his suspended sentence time (which the Judge had yet to even order because the PD didn't event wait for the judge to make his ruling). The Judge tells her to be quite on three occasions, and even separately warns her of the potential contempt charge she is skirting.

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    8. OR. And this is just a guess here, she was asking him not to impose sentence based primarily on an unproven citation that wasn't even properly before the court. If he wanted to do that, the proper method was full disclosure of the citation to the defense and, at minimum, providing the defense an opportunity to either demand the preliminary hearing or waive it. If it's a bullshit charge, it shouldn't count as violating the "stay out of trouble." If he was willing to permit the defendant to get the necessary documents to show he complied, albeit late, she needed to determine that and place on the record her objection to Hafen's using the citation as justification for jailing her client. Might she have done that after her client was in the pokey? Sure. Would Hafen have walked back his decision in front of those other defendants, even if it was the right thing to do? Not a chance.

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    9. Nice try 3:17PM, but the PD argued for leniency after the new offense was noted by the DDA. The PD had an opportunity to bring all of that up when the Court asked her about the new offense, but instead the PD asked for the court's leniency.

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    10. If any of you have seen this PD in action, you would realize how utterly incompetent she is. I have seen her on dozens of occasions and she is one of the worst defense attorneys I have ever seen. I can't think of anyone worse at "advocating" for their clients. This is something that has been building with Hafen and this PD for months. Definitely not a one-time deal where we can look at 7-8 lines of a transcript and make a judgment. She has earned this.

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    11. It sickens me that the criminal defense bar is standing up for her. She needs 24 CLE credit hours of advocacy and ethics first and foremost. A disgrace.

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  7. What is happening at Bremer Whyte?

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    1. Overbilling? Why, is something unusual happening?

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    2. Inquiring minds would like to know... This issue came up the other day re Nelson Cohen and his abrupt departure, but no interesting and/or titillating information was forthcoming from anyone.

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    3. Associates and staff saying they know nothing. Partners saying they cannot say a word. It's impressive, actually. I wish I could keep the rumor mill this tightly locked down here at my firm.

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    4. Bremer Whyte busting up?

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    5. What's a Bremer Whyte?

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  8. Addressing counsel by their first names, particularly during a criminal calendar, is very disrespectful.

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    1. As @8:24 said-- If you refer to me by my first name, I presume we are on a first name basis, and you are acceptable with me referring to you by your first name.

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  9. Replies
    1. Nope. Not even lawyer hot.

      But she is endorsed by Veterans in Politics. So that's something.

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    2. That's a strike against her, as far as I'm concerned.

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    3. Levy still gets my vote. Johnson is endorsed by Glen Lerner, yuck.

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  10. I've had several matters before Judge Johnson, one of which was a fairly important case involving an issue of first impression. He handled that case very well, very professionally, and made a very reasonable (IMO) decision. I have yet to see what is so terrible about him. I will vote to keep him on the bench.

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    1. I am glad you are happy with him. I am not.

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    2. 11:07 here. Why are you not happy? I am interested in why people think he should be removed.

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    3. Been in front of him, I don't like him as a judge.

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    4. Any specifics on why Johnson is not good or just "I don't like him" statements. Reading those arguments is like reading Boyd law arguments, other than Boyd '13 grads.

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    5. Eric Johnson should be removed, because he is a shitty judge.

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    6. Eric Johnson should be voted out, because he is clueless about civil litigation. I have seen 20+ reasons on the blog as to why he should be voted out.

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    7. And yet, no one will take the time to identify any of those reasons. In my experience, his lack of experience with civil litigation (being a criminal prosecutor) hasn't hurt him. He takes the time to understand the issues and makes fair rulings.

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    8. Plenty of times people have identified why Eric Johnson sucks. Go donate to his campaign.

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  11. Unrelated, Congressional District 4, House of Reps, any suggestions?
    Lucy?
    Susie Lee?
    I am considering anybody, but incumbent.
    Feedback?

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    1. Definitely Flores. She's the best chance of winning in the General, and she's both competent and honest. Not that common among our candidates.

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    2. Definitely Flores. She's the best chance of winning in the General, and she's both competent and honest. Not that common among our candidates.

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  12. How much of the Anti-Johnson sentiment on this board has to do with his decision in the ESA case? One case shouldn't be any sort of measure, but I could see some disgruntled teacher union/ACLU types vote against him on that basis. FYI I think he wins going away as an incumbent.

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    1. I liked his ESA opinion. Correct on the law and brave in face of a corrupt union.

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    2. I am Pro-ESA. I hate Johnson and cannot steer people away from him fast enough. Terrible as a Judge.

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    3. Having done a trial in front of Johnson as a criminal defense attorney, I can say that his appreciation for the process, jurors and the rule of law was a breath of fresh air. I cannot recommend him highly enough, he is an excellent judge; well prepared, thorough and, most of all, fair.

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    4. Fresh air, you sound like a Glade commercial.

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  13. Just read the transcript. The attorney was clearly in the wrong. You don't interrupt a judge several times (at least four - count them) when he's trying to explain something. It isn't even that he was preventing her from making an argument. He was just explaining something himself. Even if he was preventing her from making an argument, your duty is to respect the court first. You protect your client's interests by filing an appeal afterwards, or a motion for an extraordinary writ, as appropriate. How is it in your client's interests to tick off the judge?

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    1. It neither protects the client's rights nor his interests, as evidenced by the sentence. And rationalizing this behavior after the fact as zealousness does nothing but further erode professionalism as a whole.

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  14. Amy Chiweenie is a sell out. I don't like her. She's overly defensive and would make a biased, shitty judge.

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  15. I don't know why there are so many haters for Johnson. He is a good judge. He has my vote. Holper, Levy and Ramsey are all out of their minds!!

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  16. I don't hate Eric Johnson, he will not get vote.

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  17. I don't want to mention this guy's name. But this is something to think about. I found this post on Facebook:

    I need feedback: Clark County Nevada voters when you go to the voting booth to vote for a Judge what do you look for? There is a Clark County District Court Judge that takes campaign donations and endorsements from individual attorneys, their law firms and their friends while they have an active case before their court and their spouse’s court! What do you think the verdict for these cases will be? You guessed it, it would be in their favor. Money Talks; Justice Walks! Don’t believe me? There are several ways you can prove my post. Go to the Nevada Secretary of State and pull their Campaign & Expense Report, Go to their campaign website and look for endorsements and my personal favorite Go to the Clark County District Court website and put the names of the law firms and attorneys into the search and see what Judges heard what cases.. Corrupt, yes defiantly... What are you willing to do about it?

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