Clark County would rather have embattled District Judge Elizabeth Halverson clean up her own yard. But if she doesn’t show progress by week’s end, the county just might do it for her.
County attorneys are giving Halverson until Friday to let code enforcement officers inspect her side- and backyards at 4173 Oxnard Circle and either verify that she has removed junk from the lot, or start a cleanup for which she would be billed.
If Halverson ignores the request, which was faxed to her attorney Wednesday, the county plans to seek a court warrant to enter her property. The nuisance abatement case began late last year, when complaints surfaced about the foul condition of her yard.
“The county’s goal is to gain voluntary compliance, which is why this matter has gone on for so long,” Steven Sweikart, a deputy district attorney handling the case, said Wednesday. “She’s made a lot of progress, but she hasn’t completed the abatement.”
Dominic Gentile, an attorney representing Halverson, did not return a call seeking comment.
The fight is just one spat Halverson is having with authorities. Chief Judge Kathy Hardcastle recently stripped her of many judicial duties because of her “seemingly volatile, angry, paranoid and bizarre behavior toward staff,” Hardcastle said in a court filing. Halverson is contesting the action and allegations.
The alleged behavior included having her bailiff give her foot rubs and back massages and verbally abusing other staff, among other complaints.
Sweikart said the courthouse fight has nothing to do with the nuisance abatement case. “Not in our minds,” he said.
Originally, he said, “there was a massive amount of trash in the back. There was some in the front, but the back was even worse. There was a shed that was literally falling down.
“There were overgrown weeds and shrubs. At one point, the pool was black and infested with mosquitoes, but that was voluntarily corrected,” he said.
“Unfortunately, it’s our understanding that the pumps to keep the water circulating were not working,” and that the pool’s condition may have degenerated, Sweikart said.
Earlier, Halverson, who uses a motorized wheelchair and oxygen tanks, told the Review-Journal that she couldn’t move the trash and that her husband refused to help.
This month, a Review-Journal reporter observed a pair of large white tents in Halverson’s driveway, one containing miscellaneous equipment and a broken motorized wheelchair. Empty oxygen tanks lined the front porch.
If the county cleans up Halverson’s property, she would be billed. “It could be in the thousands of dollars,” Sweikart said, adding that she also could be fined up to $10,000.