District Court judicial candidate ineligible to run

District Judge Michael Villani eliminated his opponent Friday, eight months before the election.

The judge had challenged the candidacy of Las Vegas lawyer Ross Smillie, who was seeking the Department 17 seat held by Villani since 2007.

Villani claimed Smillie is not an attorney who has been “licensed and admitted to practice law” for a minimum of 10 years, as required by Nevada law.

Senior District Judge Nancy Becker heard testimony from Smillie and others Friday before ruling that the challenger is not qualified to run in the race.

According to State Bar of Nevada records, Smillie was admitted to practice law in Nevada in October 1987 but went on “inactive status” the same day and remained inactive until February 2009, when he became an active member of the State Bar of Nevada.

Smillie said he worked as an officer with the Long Beach Police Department in California from 1989 to 2009 but remained an active member of the Nevada bar until 1998.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @CarriGeer on Twitter.