weather icon Partly Cloudy

Judge Ramsey recall signatures turned in; verification comes next

A committee to recall embattled North Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Catherine Ramsey turned in more than 2,700 petition signatures Thursday at City Hall.

To force the judge into a special recall election, the group will need 1,984 of those signatures to pass muster, meaning the city clerk verifies that the signers voted in the 2011 election when Ramsey was elected.

David Thomas, the political consultant backing the petition, said he is confident the petition will be approved and is hoping the judge will resign and avoid further wasting taxpayer funds.

The recall committee, which launched in March, argues the judge should be booted for misappropriating city funds to pay for a private lawsuit, asking employees to perform personal errands on city time, and reducing defendants’ sentences arbitrarily, causing the city to lose out on revenue it would have otherwise gained from the cases, according to a news release.

Ramsey has contended, through a statement by her attorney, that the recall is politically motivated.

City spokesman Mitch Fox has said the city is not behind the recall. Thomas said that the effort is a citizens’ effort and no city or elected officials are involved.

The news conference announcing that the group had the needed signatures was held inside City Hall outside the council chambers. Thomas said that the spot was chosen for the media’s convenience and the committee just picked a location where any group would be able to hold a quick news conference. A badge is required to gain access to that area of City Hall.

One allegation previously mentioned as to why the judge should be removed was absent from the committee’s latest release: that Ramsey had taken off an inordinate number of days. According to the city’s count, Ramsey has taken off 68 days. Thomas said the committee is reviewing the data.

Ethics complaints filed in March echo the judge’s position that the city is trying to oust her. The formal complaints to the Nevada Commission on Ethics were filed by two longtime city human resources employees who were laid off last week.

According to the complaints, North Las Vegas Chief of Staff Ryann Juden bragged about scripting a City Council meeting in which Mayor John Lee called Ramsey’s alleged excessive absences “immoral.”

The mayor’s statement was brought up repeatedly in the recall effort against the judge and was used in the recall’s initial news release.

According to the complaint, Juden and Lee had a meeting with Ramsey in which Juden told her he could “make a pamphlet of half-truths, and those stupid low-income citizens wouldn’t know what to believe.”

Thomas derided Ramsey for appearing to only be bringing the issue to the news media’s attention now. The Review-Journal reported when the recall effort was launched that her attorney said in a statement that the city failed to disclose that many of the judge’s absences were to attend city events and mandatory conferences.

Former Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, one of two attorneys representing the recall committee, said that Ramsey’s days off were just one of several issues involving the judge.

Thomas highlighted a lengthy judicial ethics complaint against the judge that is posted on the recall’s website. The complaint, filed by the city in 2014, accuses the judge of abusing the city credit card to fight a lawsuit against her as well as keeping prosecutors out of the loop on their own cases.

Ramsey is one of two Municipal Court judges in North Las Vegas, and this is her first term. The court handles small civil and criminal matters, and the judges are elected at-large to six-year terms.

The relationship between the city and its courts has been rocky lately. The two judges have united to raise concerns about separation of powers, a tradition in American government of keeping the executive branch — in this case City Hall — and the judicial branch — in this case the Municipal Court — separate.

The recall effort is chaired by city resident Bob Borgersen. Borgersen said the fact that the committee got the signatures it needed — and more — before its June 9 deadline speaks volumes.

It’s unclear how much money went into the recall and who the funds came from.

When the recall was launched, Thomas estimated it would take $25,000 to get the needed signatures. Thomas said at the news conference that they did not have a contributor list with him but that he would provide it.

Thomas estimated that he personally was the recall’s biggest contributor, putting in $5,000. The rest, he said, mainly came from city employees.

North Las Vegas Police Officers Association President Michael Yarter has said his organization put $10,000 toward the recall.

There have been three unsuccessful judicial recall efforts in Nevada since 2003 that submitted signatures, according to Nevada secretary of state spokeswoman Catherine Lu.

Thomas said a judge has never been recalled in Nevada.

Behind the recall effort is a powerful political team. Thomas is known for running judicial campaigns in Clark County, so much so that he has got the nickname “Judge Maker.”

Miller said he took the job with the recall because of his grandmother, who has called North Las Vegas home for 60 years.

His grandmother was the first call he made when the job came up and she said, “You gotta do it; that judge has got to be removed!” Miller said.

With Miller, the committee has also retained well-known attorney Dominic Gentile, according to the release.

Contact Bethany Barnes at bbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Find her on Twitter: @betsbarnes.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Bel Air Drive Officer Involved Shooting Presser - Video
LVMPD Assistant Sheriff Tim Kelly goes over the officer-involved shooting on Bel Air Drive.
Former Las Vegas police officer get 25 life sentences for sexually abusing child
Former Las Vegas Police officer Bret Theil was sentences to 25 consecutive life sentences at the Regional Justice Center Wednesday, May 15, 2019, for sexually abusing a child over a decade. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Man pushed off bus in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police arrested 25-year-old Cadesha Bishop on May 6, after she allegedly pushed Serge Fournier, 74, off of a parked bus near Fremont Street and 13th Street about 4:50 p.m. March 21.(Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
$1 million bail set for mother charged with drowning 2-year-old daughter
The 44-year-old mother who police say drowned her 2-year-old daughter in a bathtub in a northeast Las Vegas apartment on Saturday made her first court appearance on Tuesday, May 14th.
Officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child appears in court
Matthew James Terry, a Las Vegas police officer arrested on suspicion of lewdness with a child, appears in court Monday morning, May 13, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police seek hit-and-run driver
A motorcycle officer pulled over a Mercedes SUV, and after the officer came to a stop, it shifted into reverse, intentionally hitting the officer.
Thedrick Andres becomes Henderson Police Department acting chief
Henderson Police Department Acting Chief Thedrick Andres speaks about his goals in his new position at the Henderson Police headquarters, Monday, April 29, 2019. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2 dead, 1 wounded after east valley neighborhood shooting
One man and one woman are dead and another man wounded after a shooting Thursday afternoon in an east valley neighborhood.
Bail denied for former police detective charged with murder
Bail was denied Tuesday for former Metropolitan Police Department detective, Pamela Rene Bordeaux who is accused of fatally shooting her daughter’s ex-husband during supervised visitation with his child.
Third suspect in death of California doctor appears in court
The third and final suspect in the killing of a California doctor, Jon Kennison, 27, appears in court Friday, April 19, 2019. Kennison, Kelsey Nichole Turner, a former model, and Diana Pena, face charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Richard Cleaves of Pahrump arrested in burglary on former Binion property
Updated press release regarding burglary on a former Binion property: Richard Cleaves, 56 of Pahrump, has been arrested on a warrant for burglary, conspiracy to commit grand larceny, and destruction of property. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Judge denies bail for suspect charged in the killing of California doctor
Diana Pena, one of three people charged in the killing of a California doctor, is being held without bail after her fingerprints were found on the car where Dr. Thomas Burchard's body was discovered.
Ex-NFL player and girlfriend held without bail in child’s death
Former professional football player Cierre Wood and his girlfriend, Amy Taylor, face charges of murder and child abuse in the death of Taylor's 5-year-old daughter. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP identifies man who was shot by trooper on Mount Charleston
Nevada Highway Patrol updates the media on the April 2, 2019 officer involved shooting on Mount Charleston. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas court grants '90 Day Fiancé' defendant continuance
"90 Day Fiance" stars Colt Johnson and his mother Debra left the Las Vegas Justice Center Thursday, after the court granted Larissa dos Santos Lima a continuance in her misdemeanor case, in which she is accused of domestic violence against Colt. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Details released on in-custody death
Assistant Sheriff Charles Hank addresses media about details of an in-custody death at Clark County Detention Center on March 31. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man hurt in shooting with Nevada troopers at Mount Charleston
A man was injured in a shooting involving Nevada Highway Patrol troopers Tuesday afternoon at Mount Charleston on state Route 157 near Echo Trail. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Officer wounds inmate during escape attempt
An officer fired on an inmate who stole a vehicle and tried to flee, ramming several cars and leading officers on a chase until he ran out of gas.
Man fatally shot during a 'beer skip'
A store clerk is being questioned after a man was fatally shot during a robbery at a gas station Friday. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Las Vegas police give details on fatal shooting
Metro homicide Lt. Ray Spencer gives a briefing on a fatal shooting near downtown Las Vegas that occurred on March 27, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas community pays tribute to boy killed by car
The community joined friends and family at Wilbur & Theresa Faiss Park, Wednesday evening, to remember the boy who was struck and killed by a car crossing South Fort Apache Road from Faiss Park, near West Maule Avenue, on Monday. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Person of Interest Found For Downtown Las Vegas Bar - Video
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is seeking help to find a person of interest in a potential homicide case at a bar in downtown Las Vegas.
Metro briefs media on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Police address media about officer-involved shooting that started on Maryland and Vegas Valley, and concluded downtown, near the Golden Nugget.
Update on OIS at Vegas Valley and Maryland
The incident began at the Steinberg Diagnostic Medical parking lot and ended downtown.
Amy And Spencer Powell Recount Hit And Run
Amy Powell and her son Spencer recount the day Spencer was hit by a truck while riding his bike. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah arrested in Amarillo, TX
Jeremy Burch of Tonopah was arrested in Amarillo, TX on a Nye County warrant for open murder, burglary, obtaining money under false pretense, use of credit card w/o owner consent, and destruction of evidence. (Nye County Sheriff's Office/Facebook)
Metro Presser For OIS 6 (Full)
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Metro Presser For OIS 6
Metro police address the officer involved shooting that took place on March 19, 2019.
Domestic disturbance call ends in suicide
A man died by suicide after police tried negotiating with him outside of his ex-girlfriend’s home on March 13. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by Las Vegas police
A 20-year-old armed robbery suspect shot by a Las Vegas officer on Saturday night is also accused of burglarizing a Boys & Girls Club minutes before the shooting.
Metro briefing on OIS near downtown Las Vegas
Metropolitan Police Department Capt. Kelly McMahill briefs the media on a officer-involved shooting near Ninth Street and Bonanza Road on March 19, 2019. Mike Shoro/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man robs restaurant with large kitchen knife
On March 16, 2019, at approximately 6:00 PM, an armed robbery occurred at a local restaurant located near East Charleston and Eastern. The suspect entered the business with a large knife, demanding money from the registers. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Commercial Robbery On 3000 Block Of North Las Vegas Blvd - VIDEO
On February 19th, 2019, at approximately 10:23 am, a robbery occurred to a business located on the 3000 block of North Las Vegas Boulevard. The pictured suspect entered the business, approached the counter and pointed a firearm at the victim demanding money. The victim complied and the suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of money. No injuries were reported.
DEA Launches New Program To Combat Opioid Epidemic
The Drug Enforcement Administration is launching a new effort in Nevada to combat the opioid epidemic.
Dancers put on a Hollywood show in Las Vegas — PHOTOS

Local dancers from the Sun City Dance Company performed during the Hollywood Lights show at the Starbright Theatre at the Sun City Summerlin Pinnacle Community Center in Las Vegas on Sunday.