Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission suspends Goodsprings justice of the peace

The state’s Commission on Judicial Discipline has suspended Goodsprings Justice of the Peace Dawn Haviland with pay after concluding that she “poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public or to the administration of justice.”

According to a notice of intent to suspend Haviland, filed privately Dec. 14, the action was based on the commission’s findings “into numerous allegations of judicial misconduct.” The notice, made public this week, provides no further explanation of the suspension.

“The whole thing has been confusing to me,” Haviland said in a telephone interview Friday. “I’m kind of at a loss. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Haviland was given until last Monday to request a public hearing, but she chose not to do so.

“We didn’t want to go through a hearing during the holidays on the issue of suspension,” said her attorney, Albert Marquis.

The commission filed its suspension order Wednesday and attached the earlier notice as an exhibit. Haviland said she was not given the effective date of her suspension.

Haviland, who was appointed to her position in 1999, declined to comment on the specifics of the allegations.

“They are complaints from two current employees, and we intend to dispute all of them,” Marquis said. “We don’t think there are any grounds for discipline, and we think she’s going to be vindicated at the end of the day.”

Nancy Schreihans, management analyst for the discipline commission, said the allegations have not been made public because formal charges have not been filed.

Marquis said they are waiting to hear back from the commission regarding a hearing on the merits of the case.

In an unrelated case, on April 25, the commission filed a public reprimand of Haviland. In commission documents Haviland admitted she committed violations of the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct.

Commission records list several violations, including failure to promote public confidence in the judiciary, failure to uphold and apply the law, failure to perform judicial and administrative duties competently and diligently, and prohibiting ex parte communications by the judge or through her staff.

Haviland does not have a law degree. Law degrees are not required for justices of the peace in Nevada’s rural towns. According to Transparent Nevada, Haviland received nearly $103,000 in total pay and benefits in 2015.

Contact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

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