Thursday, April 27, 2017

Just Visiting


  • A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot withhold funds from sanctuary cities. [KNPR]
  • A Family Court judge ruled that a 15-year old will be tried as an adult on charges related to a gang rape. Anyone want to clue us in on the judge and whether this was the right call? [RJ]
  • Former Family Court judge Steven Jones was released from federal prison on April 12. [RJ]
  • Here's an update on the bills that survived Tuesday's legislative deadline. [TNI]

56 comments:

  1. Jones has been out of prison for months and in a halfway house in Phoenix and then house arrest. RJ once again didn't check their facts and just published whatever they saw on the BOP website. Non-story.

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  2. What is up with the TNI hyper-link?

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  3. Certification hearings for juvenile offenders are handled by Judge Voy. He has several hearing masters that work for him, but he is the sole juvenile delinquency judge.

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    1. Good. Hearing masters bust their butts.

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  4. Any idea on the attorneys involved in the 2010 Cristiano Ronaldo Las Vegas rape settlement? Storties say the negotiations took place in Las Vegas, terms seem to be coming to light today

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  5. Not that the stupidity and/or greed of the victims in any manner mitigates Steve Jones' culpability, but I remain astonished, from what I understand of the schemes, that any functioning people of average intelligence would fall for any of it.

    One might say that an explanation for them being suckered is that they were of less than average intelligence, and those intellectual limitations, combined with greed, made them susceptible. Whatever it was, it is the flaws in the victims, rather than the intelligence of the conspirators, that made the scheme work. Simply put, the conspirators' approach, and the conspiracy itself, was so blatantly idiotic I still can't fathom the victims falling for any of it.

    World War I bonds? The victims just accepting that the conspirators had high ranking contacts in the Bush administration, and therefore had the inside track on some incredible get rich quick schemes? Water rights on
    extremely valuable, developing property but no one has ownership papers, or any documentation, to establish any of this? Raw land on the strip that will soon be developed into a billion dollar casino, but the conspirators can show no ownership paperwork, or any documentation whatsoever, to prove the existence of the land or the conspirators' interests therein?

    Only a greedy moron would fall for any of this. Yet some of the victims were quite educated--like the elderly physician. Perhaps the explanation is he grew up during a much more trusting time.

    I understand the part that a sitting judge helped lend an aura of credibility to the whole mess, but I still find the so-called investment opportunities to be comically ludicrous on their face.

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    1. This kind of crap happens all the time, especially in Las Vegas. Only the greedy can be swindled.

      Notwithstanding the level of intelligence of the victims, Jones' actions are beyond contemptible. And it is a sick joke that he will live comfortably on the taxpayers' dime for the rest of his miserable life.

      Jones is just another dancer in the Las Vegas conga line of self-serving hucksters that includes people like Lance Malone, Dario Herrera, Michael McDonald, Erin Kenny, etc., etc., etc. There will be more; they breed here like vermin.

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    2. Judicial discipline proceedings took forever with him and he walked away with his pension, knowing he was done as a judge anyway. What a sad LV story.

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    1. Hedge fund manager PI case in front of Johnson.

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  7. Tierra Jones and Mark Bailus are the new judges...

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    1. where did you hear this

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    2. Here's what I found...
      https://article.wn.com/view/2017/04/28/Governor_Sandoval_Appoints_Tierra_Jones_and_Mark_Bailus_to_E/

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    3. Missouri Plan advocates: Explain to me again how it is that appointing is superior to electing.

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    4. I have been in the Missouri Plan camp but this is just CRAZY. Tierra Jones????

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    5. Yes. Tierra was the only one in that department with any criminal experience, which is what we need on the bench. I'd love to hear what your issue with Tierra is.

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    6. She was not the most qualified candidate for that Department. Pretty simple issue.

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    7. Coffing is a Justice Court pro tem judge. He has actually presided over criminal matters. This wasn't about qualifications, because there is no comparison. It was political. Pure and simple.

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    8. You have a 35 year old DA who has never handled anything civil. Let's see how she handles a commercial litigation dispute or a products liability matter or a business dispute between shareholders or a brain injury case or any of a hundred other normal civil disputes. Sandoval just guaranteed the county a lot of money since she becomes an automatic peremptory challenge.

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    9. I know both Coffing and Jones well. Coffing is very good at what he does. Jones is the superior candidate for judge and has gained more trial experience during her 11 years as a lawyer than Coffing likely will if he practices another two decades. If you truly think its ALL politics then Coffing should have easily won the day. Much respect for Sandoval on this one.

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    10. 8:11, as an 11 year lawyer who does mostly crim, I can tell you I have never seen Coffing pro tem. Ever.

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    11. Coffing has a good name and seems like a nice guy. But at least when I clerked, 75% of what the judge did was criminal. I don't think I'd appoint a person that hadn't at least spent a few years doing criminal work...and this comes from a civil litigation attorney that half wishes he could be in the running for judge one day.

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    12. Said it last week and will say it again-- ask any Judge who has done both and they will tell you that criminal is so much easier than civil. I know both Coffing and Jones; this was politics and bad politics at that.

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    13. Did you read Coffing's application? 3 felony criminal trials, several criminal appeals and post-judgment cases. 2 years in USAO (albeit in law school) Jone is not a bad person, but to say she was the most qualified is just silly.

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    14. 8:12: the judges I've heard from about this think civil is easier. They mock civil lawyers that can't discuss the rules of evidence without setting a briefing schedule, and who can't cross a witness unless the witness has already sat for a previous deposition. They think depriving liberty is a tougher call and has more pits for the unwary than deciding who should get what money. I'm not saying you're wrong or that judges don't feel the way the judges you've spoken to about it do. I'm just saying that, while I would have picked Coffing, I can see some very good experienced lawyers thinking Coffing's apparently 3 criminal trials and prosecutor internship during law school doesn't really set him up for success as a judge. I agree that I'd rather be in front of Coffing on civil matters though.

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    15. On this thread, some people argue that these appointments are primarily political, while others argue that qualifications do in fact carry the day.

      To some extent, both views are correct. During the Commission stage of the process, before the field is narrowed to three,impressive qualifications and solid legal reputation do help an individual to be among the final three.

      However, once it is down to the final three, we wind up with individuals who are all(presumably) reasonably qualified, and who don't have significant skeletons in their closet(unlike elections wherein such tainted individuals often slip through).

      Once it's down to the final three, and all three are usually acceptable(and often all three are quite good), qualifications and reputation no longer matter much because all three finalists usually have pretty good reputations and qualifications. At that point, when it's down to the last three and who will emerge from among them, it becomes entirely political.

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  8. Holy ****. Are you serious? Stunned. Absolutely stunned.

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  9. How the fuck do you have the good fortune to have Terry Coffing willing to take a huge paycut in order to serve the public in this judicial hell hole, and then you pass him over? For 35 year old, just squeaked by on the experience requirement, Tierra Jones?

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    1. How the fuck do you guys who know nothing about Tierra talk so much shit? Coffing admitted he doesn't write shit anymore, he just manages clients, and attorney hours. Tierra busted her ass, did both PD and DA work, is from Sandoval's hometown AND is an excellent attorney is a soon to be ALL CRIMINAL department. The best judges on the bench right now are all former DA's so STFU, bill your .1's, threaten to go to trial then don't, and snipe at each other anonymously. Fucking haters. Can't wait for the racist trolls to start in.

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    2. Abbi Silver destroys your claim that former DA = good judge.

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    3. Outlier. But I apologize for not being more specific, "the best judges in Clark county 8th judicial district court right now". Better?

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    4. I'm fine with Tierra, but I think the record should be perfectly clear that not all former DAs are great judges. Doug Smith and Bill Kephart, both former DAs, are among the worst.

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    5. There are some decent Judges who came out of the DAs office; there are some terrible Judges that came out of the DA's office. To suggest that Tierra Jones is Doug Herndon or David Wall means that you are not paying very close of attention or you do not know about that of which you speak.

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    6. 8:22 makes a good point, the pool of applicants for the last 3 vacancies has been "less than stellar" Then a great applicant comes along and you ignore it for political reasons. This will definitely impact the desire for good folks to apply in the future. This is not a knock on Jones, I am sure that she is a fine person, but in no way the best choice.

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  10. There are no black judges on the bench in Clark County. It was a no brainer that Tierra would get it. Coffing is "holier than though." Glad he did not get it. Big Law does not equal good judge. Bailus is a terrific choice.

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    1. Mark Bailus will be fine. He is a Crockett-- old school guy getting a retirement plan to ease up as he reaches the end of his career.

      Tierra is a terrible choice. The fact that there are no black judges does not make her any more qualified or the selection any less disasterous.

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    2. Tim Williams would beg to differ.

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    3. 8:13-- you are absolutely correct. So would Karen Bennett-Haron. Yeah yeah I know, 8:01 you meant to say District Court judges but were still wrong.

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    4. This is wrong. Tim Williams is a black judge, currently on the bench. But on the whole, I agree - our bench is white, white, white. It would be great if our bench had a little more diversity.

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    5. If you want to replace Doug Smith with John Bailey, you have my support. But throwing Tierra Jones on to the bench was not the answer to this problem. The problem with Tierra is not diversity; she is not close to being the most qualified candidate for this position.

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    6. I want to practice in front of the most highly qualified judges. Coffing was without question more highly qualified than Jones. Not even close. She was appointed because she is black and female. Any argument to the contrary is laughable. Sandoval blew a rare opportunity to upgrade the quality and expertise of the Eighth Judicial District Court bench. Pay attention to see what Sandoval gets in return for screwing Clark County.

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    7. Admittedly Tierra is replacing Jessie Walsh. A canned ham would have been an upgrade in quality and expertise from what has been happening in Department X for 15 years.

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    8. We will see whether Jones is better than Walsh. I am not optimistic as to civil cases. I agree with the earlier comment that Jones will rake in the peremptory challenge money - just like Walsh did.

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    9. Apparently Walsh's department is going to end up being all criminal.

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    10. Those designations can be and are changed all the time. And Tierra cannot hear criminal cases prosecuted by her former colleagues and employer for some time due to the need for a cooling off period.

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    11. Guess again 10:30 - or better yet, look up the rules - they are different for former government employees. She won't be conflicted off of all criminal cases, only those which she personally handled or for which she has confidential info. It's fair game on all the others, just as it was for all of the other prosecutors who are now judges.

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    12. Perhaps 10:30 a.m. was presuming that Tierra would take the ethical road and recuse herself for a cooling off period. If she doesn't, then that's all the more reason she should not have been appointed.

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    13. 10:30 a.m. here. I should have written "should not" instead of "cannot." But in my mind it is "cannot," as in "cannot in good conscience."

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    14. Is she the most qualified of the candidates.. probably not. Is she qualified to at least the minimum level of competence.. Yes...

      For the short period of her career, her C.V. is impressive and given more seasoning I am sure she would develop into an impressive attorney. My beef is more along the lines of when we have a highly qualified candidate in the mix, why settle for someone near the minimum qualification level (even when the quality of the minimum is impressive). Where is the harm in waiting to allow greater seasoning prior to elevating to the bench?? I really am not thrilled with the prospect of a judge spending 30-40 years on the bench.

      As to Walsh's current calendar (whether civil/criminal or all criminal) it is likely to be swapped with the calendar of an existing judge (especially if it becomes all criminal). Calendar's are assigned by the Chief Judge and generally are based upon seniority not department number. If a judge with greater seniority wants a change in calendar, a vacant department will be swapped to them and the new judge takes the more senior judge's former calendar.

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    15. One more thing that makes the "All Criminal" unlikely is that judges treat courtrooms like room selection in a fraternity-- based on seniority and that means off to the Phoenix Building. So although Department XVIII is already in the Phoenix Building, expect Department X to go their next. This is why every time we get a new Judge, they start in the Phoenix Building and thus are all civil.

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  11. This is why the Missouri plan or the appointment process is a disaster for qualified candidates. The rules of who is qualified are bent for diversity--there must be more black, Hispanic, Asian, and so less emphasis on qualifications and more on bringing diversity assets to the table.

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    1. Yep - I look at our existing almost white bench and think "well there's the best and brightest among our legal community" - said no one ever. Election after election boils down to the lesser of two evils. I'm not claiming that the appointment process is perfect, but elections are also not the panacea. There are some very qualified candidates who are not white, but the system does little to encourage them to run for judicial positions.

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    2. Both systems have serious flaws; I think these events demonstrate that an appointment process is just as fraught with problems as a straight electoral system. Raising the minimum qualifications might be a partial solution.

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    3. There should be a requirement that a person have 20 years of experience, actually prepare pleadings (writing samples), worked on cases in Clark County, and most importantly tried cases. We need judges who have had actual and real clients and understand the challenges of those in private and public practice. The problem with an appointed system is that you if you get a bad judge (and you will get bad judges) you CAN NOT get rid of them.

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    4. @10:12 - I agree that we should revisit the required qualification. 15 or 20 years of actual experience rather than air time of licensing would be an improvement. Actual representation of clients should similarly be required (private or public clients is acceptable). While actual trial experience would be desirable, I don't think it should be a requirement as over 90% of civil actions resolve without actual trial. To institute a trial requirement severely skews the balance in favor of criminal attorneys (or civil attorneys that take unreasonable positions/can't properly value their cases).

      I disagree with a Clark County requirement as a District Judge has statewide jurisdiction, governed by the same laws anywhere within the state. I would much prefer a highly qualified applicant from the rurals to a weak candidate from Clark County.

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