Removed Family Court judge seeks to fill seat

CARSON CITY -- Former Family Court Judge Robert Teuton has applied to fill the judicial vacancy that was created in November when he was removed from the bench by a Supreme Court order.

Teuton, 56, and Las Vegas lawyer Michele "Shell" Mercer, 47, were the only applicants to the Commission on Judicial Selection.

They will be interviewed by the commission on Feb. 11 or 12. Gov. Jim Gibbons then will appoint one to fill the Clark County Family Court vacancy.

Gibbons had urged the commission to meet as soon as possible so that the seat can be filled quickly.

Teuton lost the seat not because of anything he did, but because of a gap in state election laws.

Gibbons appointed Teuton to the seat in August 2008 on the assumption that he would serve out the last two years and four months of retired Judge Gerald Hardcastle's remaining term.

But the Supreme Court ruled on Nov. 12 that Teuton could no longer serve as judge. The court stated he should have run for the seat in the November 2008 election.

Yet election officials never put the race for the seat on the ballot that year and Teuton was appointed three days after the deadline for making changes in the general election ballot.

On the day he was removed, Teuton vowed to file again to fill the vacancy and then to run in the November 2010 election. Candidates for judiciary positions file between Jan. 4-15. Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hardesty is chairman of the Commission on Judicial Selection.

Other members are Ruth Agee, of Elko County; Ann Bersi, former Clark Count deputy district attorney; G. Fred Boyd, Reno business consultant; Scott Freeman, Reno lawyer; Jeffrey Gilbert, gaming executive; and Thomas L. Stockard, deputy district attorney in Churchill County.

Named as temporary members for the February meeting were Rebecca Miller, a Las Vegas lawyer; and Donna Coleman, a child advocate in Las Vegas.

Citizens can make comments about the qualifications of the two candidates by submitting them in writing to Ron Titus, Administrative Office of the Courts, Supreme Court Building, Suite 250, Carson City, NV 89701 by Jan. 15. All comments will be confidential.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at or 775-687-3901.