Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Primary Guide: Las Vegas Justice Court

Early voting begins on Saturday, so today we're opening the floor to discuss the five openings on the Las Vegas Justice Court bench.  Who do you think should be elected? Who should be avoided at all costs?  Based on the facts available to us, was Judge Conrad Hafen right or wrong to have a public defender put in handcuffs shortly before primary elections? The candidates for the five openings are below.

Before we begin, just remember Nevada Rule of Professional Conduct 8.2:

Rule 8.2.  Judicial and Legal Officials.
      (a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.
      (b) A lawyer who is a candidate for judicial office shall comply with the applicable provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Department 3

Connell, Sean P.
Letizia, Harmony
Marshall, Janiece

Department 4

Candelaria,Amber
Prieto, Jillian
Saragosa, Melissa A.

Department 6

Kern, Rebecca
Rogan, Jeff
Yeager, Bita

Department 9

Bonaventure, Joe
Goldstein, Steven
Kurth, Robert

Department 14

Chelini, Amy “JoAnne’’
Hafen, Conrad
Jefferson, Phung

65 comments:

  1. Hafen needs to go. Perhaps back to a cubicle at the AG's office. Somewhere, anywhere, but on the bench.

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  2. My choices are:
    Connell
    Prieto
    Rogan
    Bonaventure
    Reluctantly, Chelini

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    Replies
    1. Why Preito and Rogan?

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    2. Prieto can't spell cat if you spotted her the c and the t... And Hafen needs to go, that was way out of line. The only person worse than Hafen in that article was Phil Kohn, how do you not go to bat for your deputy? That's bullshit.

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    3. ... "how do you not go to bat for your deputy?" Maybe because his deputy embarrassed herself and Kohn's office by arguing with a judge.

      If you ever get to the point of a judge having to tell you to stop talking, you have already gone too far.

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    4. Thank you insurance defense bar... The point is that the first thing Hafen did was tell her to be quiet, totally fine with that, the next option is to take her liberty? And put her in the box so that every attorney coming into that department can see her in cuffs? No threat of a fine, no removal from court? There are other options you blowhard and Hafen took none of them. And then for her boss to come in, EVEN IF SHE DID SOMETHING WRONG, and be okay with the taking of her liberty and her public shaming? That's not okay.

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    5. @1:59 PM - for a second, pull you head out of your liberal butt and recognize that we work in the legal profession. When a judge tells an attorney to stop talking, the attorney MUST stop talking or face contempt of court. Everyone seems to be missing the fact that this public defender's willfully disregarded an order of the court, which necessarily subjected her to contempt and imprisonment. There isn't friendly back-and-forth between a judge and counsel; instead, you make your argument, and then you shut it when the court is speaking or ruling.

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    6. I'm all for pulling heads out of liberal butts for a second, and I was pretty strong on Hafen's side, but as I wrote below, 2:22 makes a good point. What's a defense lawyer to do if the judge refuses to allow her to make a record? I'm not sure that's what happened, but 2:22 says Hafen is "well known" for refusing to allow defense lawyers to make a record. I'm back on the fence.

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    7. Easy answer, file a written motion setting forth all facts, issues, and relevant matters including that you were not able to set forth all facts at the hearing. Call it a renewed motion, motions for reconsideration, take your pick. You may piss off the judge, but not to the degree of being put in handcuffs and you make a clean record for your appeal.

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    8. Full Transcript: http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/2016_0523_hafen_contempt.pdf

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    9. After reading the transcript I'm firmly on Hafen's side.

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    10. I've been in his courtroom and Hafen is an ass. But more specifically here, filing a written motion is not enough to preserve your objection in many cases; more importantly, a judge's ego does not override an attorney's duty to put their argument on the record.

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    11. at 3:34 pm - have you met our Supreme Court ... so long as an objection is somewhere in the record, it counts!

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  3. Does anyone know who is running for Henderson Justice Court?

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    1. I don't think anyone is right now. I am a Henderson resident and my sample ballot only has District Court #20.

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    2. Sam Bateman is running for Henderson JP (long time Clark County DA and Henderson City Councilman). He announced last week. Sam is smart, experienced, reasonable and hard working (and no, this is not Sam).

      http://www.reviewjournal.com/politics/henderson-city-councilman-sam-bateman-seeks-justice-peace-position

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    3. 1:59, thank you, Sam Bateman

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    4. Because it's a special election, it's only going to be on the general election ballot, not on the primary ballot.

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  4. Definitely Connell. Nothing bothers me more than an inexperienced, unqualified lawyer using their last name to catapult them into a judgeship.

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    1. Ugh, THANK YOU. Glad I'm not the only one.

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    2. How is Connell more experienced than a PD? I don't think he's ever actually been in justice court.

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    3. Connell's radio ads say he has done criminal defense and landlord-tenant. I don't know him.

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  5. I'm going for:
    Connell
    Saragosa
    Kern
    Bonaventure
    Hafen -only dealt with him on the civil docket and he seemed decent

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  6. Talking over the judge is generally not ok. But am I the only one that likes an aggressive public defender like that? The cards are already stacked against them so I respect someone going to bat like that.

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    1. I think they were both wrong, but Hafen was much much much more wrong. There are better ways to run a courtroom than jailing attorneys who annoy you slightly.

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    2. I like her aggressiveness, she was doing her job. Dammed if you do Dammed if you Dont.

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  7. Who is Harmony Letizia related to?

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    1. Who is Tom Letizia?

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    2. Advertising and Public Relations bigwig. You would think that with that experience they would have taken a better picture for her signs that did not make her face look so long and equine.

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    3. She has always had a butter face. I went to high school with her and let's just say that she was not the brightest crayon in the box.

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    4. Letizia is better looking than Gina Bonjovi.

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    5. Brightest crayon? I love that term. It will be in a brief soon!

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  8. I'm okay with the incumbents. I even would have voted for Hafen until yesterday. Now Amy is getting my dept 14 vote.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. I practice in justice court everyday. Believe me, Hafen is awful. Even if the contempt thing didn't happen. I'm with you, Amy all the way.

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  9. I've appeared frequently in front of Marshall, Saragosa, and Yeager and I think they're all pretty good. I'll be voting for all three of them.

    I'd vote for a potted plant over Bonaventure because even if it's been 15 years, I still think the way he originally got elected is pretty gross. Not sure which of his opponents is the lesser of two evils.

    And I'll vote for Chelini over Hafen. His handling of the PD situation was completely inappropriate. If he's letting the power of the bench go to his head that way, he needs to find a new job.

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  10. I bet Candelaria will win one of these elections eventually. Voters will become so familiar with the name that they'll just assume that she's been elected in for years.

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  11. Hafen has my vote Someone has to keep uppity PD's inline. Yelling and cutting off a judge is not "advocacy" but "bullying." I hate bullies. Shrill hussies need to be cuffed and banned.

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    Replies
    1. **applause**

      Hafen solidified that he is getting my vote as well. PDs need to be kept on shorter leashes, or those that have to practice with them once they enter civil practice should receive hazard pay.

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    2. You tell me the last time a civil practitioner or a retained lawyer was put in handcuffs in front of his/her client and made to sit in the jury box with inmates. And you can't tell me that there aren't a number of those lawyers who have cut off judges, are "shrill" or are bullies. There is a sense that the PDs who have to appear in front of the same judge every day are owned by that judge.

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    3. What's funny is that civil litigators have the rep as the uncivil, disrespectful folks who spend the entire day slinging mud and talking over judges and personally attacking opposing counsel but now you guys are saying the PD's need to be checked? That's rich.

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    4. "Shrill hussy," really? I'm not saying I agree with the PD's actions, but I'm really not sure why you would call her a HUSSY. What term you would use if the PD was a male?

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    5. Hafen is well known for not allowing defense counsel to make a record. He treats those appearing before him often as though they are servants who are there to do his bidding, without complaint. He demeans counsel, as evidenced by calling them by their first names, and lacks a judicial temperament. Handcuffing attorneys for advocacy is out of line.

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    6. ***
      Applause
      Thank you, Eric Johnson

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    7. hus·sy
      ˈhəsē,ˈhəzē/Submit
      noun
      an impudent or immoral girl or woman.
      "that brazen little hussy!"
      ---
      If it was a man, I guess I would either call him a "dick" or a "punk" depending on my mood. If it was a man with a shrill voice, I would call him a fag.
      Fag
      1. An extremely annoying, inconsiderate person most commonly associated with Harley riders.
      2. A person who owns or frequently rides a Harley.
      " Look at that fag riding that Harley."
      "Why are these fags always so loud."

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    8. 2:24, stop using Hafen's dictionary.

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    9. 2:22 raises an interesting point. I don't appear in front of Hafen, but if he refuses to allow defense counsel to make a record, and she was just preserving appealable issues, then this might be on him. Also, I've never seen a judge call anyone by first name. Seems odd. Does he do that to everyone?

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    10. He made a defendant represent himself for a trespass ticket. The guy asked for time to get an atty. He didn't qualify for pd but couldn't afford private. Hafen made him rep himself. During the trial, poor guy asked for an atty. Hafen gave him 10 days contempt. This was just before xmas, last year. He needs to go.

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  12. The PD is a Cooley grad. That explains it. She can't make legal arguments, so she just raises her voice and argues all over the place. Got it now. Hafen 2016 sign going up.

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  13. I think a separate civility thread is called for. Even in the relatively dignified area of commercial litigation, there are "A" team players who really do think that if they keep arguing again and again, the judge will eventually budge. Kind of like yelling at your spouse until he or she just throws his or her hands up. This is unacceptable.

    Judges should be empowered to shut bad behavior down by whatever means. Maybe a spray bottle with water, like my friends use with their cats, or something. I dunno. Some judges, like old man Bell, didn't have these problems.

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    1. The Judge is empowered, nobody disputes that. It's a poor display of restraint not to just put her out of the courtroom and call her boss. Continue the case and take a recess. Any of a dozen ways to deal with poor behavior short of handcuffing a licensed attorney.

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    2. We should handcuff paralegals practicing law without a license.

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    3. Two words: Judicial Temperament. There are times when you need to swing the big dick gavel, just like there are times when swinging big lawyer dick is needed to get the job done expeditiously. But those times are few and far in-between. Judge Hafen does it routinely.

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  14. Some legal discussion here please. Was the PD's conduct contemptuous? Did the Judge follow the appropriate procedure? Is arguing over the Judge enough for contempt? Is putting the PD in cuffs with the other defendants appropriate? Should there have been an order to sit down and shut up first? Inquiring bloggers want to know.

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  15. I am voting for Chelini for one pure (non-legal) reason: I can't stand looking at Hafen's ugly mug, and Chelini is decent overall. This whole hand cuff thing just helps me justify my reasoning further.

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  16. I worked shortly with Hafen when he was at the AG's office. Not impressed! He did a "training" class and after a while we found out everything he told us was incorrect or slanted in some way or another. And this was on the practice of criminal law!

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  17. On top of cuffing the lawyer, he proceeded to sentence the defendant to six months without counsel.

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    1. 6 months without counsel might actually be a good thing for this guy.

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    2. 3:23: pretty selective about which Amendments you like I gather

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    3. Just don't try taking his guns!!

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    4. Isn't sentencing him to jail without counsel an automatic reversal for violating a constitutional right?

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  18. Wow. No doubt about it. Judge Hafen is a fucking douchenozzle. Here's the transcript. https://www.scribd.com/doc/313749834/Transcript-of-Hafen-Contempt

    You want decorum, asshole? How about referring to the professionals who practice in front of you AS professionals.

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    Replies
    1. The use of first names bothers me. Other than that, he was fine in the proceedings. I am voting for Hafen.

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  19. I'm choosing:
    Department 3
    Letizia, Harmony

    Connell is a perennial. Marshall is awful and low approval ratings.

    Department 4
    Saragosa, Melissa A.

    WTH are the other two??

    Department 6
    Yeager, Bita

    I like Jeff Rogan but I don't see why its necessary to remove Yeager at this point.

    Department 9
    Bonaventure, Joe

    Goldstein is crazy and Kurth is a perennial.

    Department 14
    Chelini, Amy “JoAnne’’

    Phung is a perennial. Hafen is the worst. Horrible to his staff, arrogant, and definitely has the black robe syndrome.

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