Former judge returns to Family Court bench

CARSON CITY — Fewer than two months after he was removed from the bench by the Supreme Court, Robert Teuton was reappointed Tuesday as a Family Court judge.

Teuton, who on Monday filed his candidacy for a four-year term on the Department D seat in Clark County, was pleased by the appointment, made by Gov. Jim Gibbons. The appointment runs through the remainder of the year.

“I plan to continue my efforts to bring justice and equality to the Family Court with respect for all parties involved,” Teuton said.

Teuton, who through no fault of his own has been without a job for seven weeks, also was pleased the governor and Commission on Judicial Selection were able to expedite his appointment. He initially had thought it would be March before he might return to his old job.

“It has given me a personal appreciation of the psychological effect as well as the financial effects of not having a job,” Teuton said.

Because of a gap in state election laws, Teuton, 56, had been ordered by the Supreme Court on Nov. 12 to vacate his seat.

Gibbons initially appointed Teuton to the judgeship in August 2008 on the assumption that he would serve out the last two years and four months of retired Judge Gerald Hardcastle’s remaining term.

But the Supreme Court stated he should have run for the seat in the November 2008 election.

But county election officials never put the race for the seat on the ballot that year. As it was, Teuton had been appointed three days after the deadline for making changes in the general election ballot.

Teuton said he hopes the Legislature can correct the problems in election laws in the 2011 session. Candidates appointed to judgeships after election filing deadlines should be allowed to serve until the following general election, he said.

After he vacated the seat, Teuton filed an application with the Commission on Judicial Selection for the newly created vacancy. He and Las Vegas lawyer Michele “Shell” Mercer, 47, were the applicants.

“Mr. Teuton has already shown he has the experience to protect the interests of children and families in the Family Court system,” Gibbons said. “I feel certain he will show fairness as he presides over the cases in Family Court, which are often so difficult.”

Contact Las Vegas Review-Journal Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at evogel @reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901.

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