The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline has set a June 24 hearing in Las Vegas on its complaint alleging suspended Family Court Judge Steven Jones mishandled a romantic relationship with a prosecutor who appeared before him.
Jones, who also is under federal indictment, has denied the allegations in the complaint accusing him of violating Nevada’s Judicial Code of Conduct, and he has challenged the commission’s authority to take action against him.
The prosecutor, former Deputy District Attorney Lisa Willardson, “actively litigated cases” in the longtime judge’s courtroom while the 2011 relationship took place, and Jones failed to disqualify himself from cases involving her, the complaint alleges.
The State Bar of Nevada, which regulates lawyers, declined to discipline Willardson over the relationship, concluding she appeared before Jones at the time only in uncontested matters that did not harm the integrity of the legal system.
The commission suspended Jones with pay in Novemberafter the federal indictment alleging he participated in a $3 million investment fraud scheme. He is free on his own recognizance in that case.
Former District Attorney David Roger asked the commission to investigate the relationship between Jones and Willardson.
Roger removed Willardson from child abuse and neglect cases before Jones after the relationship became public in October 2011.
The commission’s complaint alleges Jones interfered with Roger’s effort to move Willardson out of the district attorney’s child welfare unit.
Willardson, who was fired, has accused the commission of mounting a political witch hunt against Jones.
Contact Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-8135. Follow @JGermanRJ on Twitter.