Henderson swears in interim replacement for seat left vacant after judge’s death

Henderson on Tuesday night swore in Rodney T. Burr to fill the interim municipal court judge seat that became vacant after Judge Diana Hampton was found dead in her home in March.

Burr was a longtime justice of the peace in Henderson. He served in the role for 25 years before offering to fill the vacant seat last month. Burr will receive a salary that is $40,000 less than his previous post. But he is eligible to collect on his public employee retirement while receiving a city paycheck, meaning his net income could rise by roughly $75,000.

Burr was regularly one of the highest-rated judges in the Las Vegas Review-Journal polls, earning as high as a 97 percent approval rating among lawyers in 2012.

He took his oath in front of City Council chambers that were nearly full with his family members, friends and city employees.

As a college student attending the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Burr was a youth sports coordinator for the city of Henderson. Going back to work for the city decades later, Burr said, feels like a “full circle.”

Hampton’s seat Henderson’s 3rd Municipal Court has been filled, but the circumstances surrounding her death still remain cloudy.

More than two months after her death and three weeks after the coroner ruled her death an accident, Henderson police said they are still investigating the case, department spokeswoman Michelle French said.

“This case is an open investigation. The detectives do not have a date or timeframe for when the case will be closed,” French said in an email Tuesday.

Hampton died March 13 in her Inspirada townhome in Henderson. The Clark County coroner’s office ruled April 25 that the judge died from an infection in her lower right arm and called her death accidental. Both the police department and coroner’s office said that no foul play is suspected.

Hampton had toxic levels of the potent prescription painkiller fentanyl in her system when she died, the coroner noted.

Details such as whether Hampton had a prescription for the drug remain unclear because the police investigation has not been closed.

Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

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