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Commission on Judicial Selection chooses five candidates for judge seats

Five judicial candidates vying for two vacant Clark County Family Court seats were chosen Tuesday after two days of interviews conducted by the Commission on Judicial Selection for the Eighth Judicial District Court.

After interviewing the 15 applicants and debating their qualifications and demeanor, the commission voted in favor of Gregory Gordon, 38; Charles Hoskin, 45; Vincent Ochoa, 56; William Gonzalez, 47; and Keith Lyons, 47.

The commission was required to pick three names for the open seats in Departments E and F. It is allowed to name one candidate for both seats. That was Ochoa.

The names will be submitted to Gov. Jim Gibbons, who is required to make the final decision within 30 days. If the governor does not meet the deadline, he will be prohibited from making any other appointments until he chooses two of the five candidates.

The commission conducted the interviews and deliberated in public for the second time since deciding to open the process in 2007.

“We’ve embarked on a great adventure here,” said Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice James Hardesty, chairman of the commission. “We will improve on the process.”

Each applicant appeared before the commission and was asked a variety of questions, such as why they wish to be a family court judge, if they are concerned that the emotional nature of the hearings might cause too much stress and how they propose to expedite cases.

Except for Gonzalez, who is a Clark County deputy public defender, the final candidates are all attorneys in private practice. Commissioners appeared particularly keen on Ochoa and openly questioned why voters had not put him on the bench in past elections.

“I don’t understand why the people of Clark County didn’t elect this guy,” Hardesty said. “I just think he’s terrific.”

Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at apacker@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710.

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