RENO — The Reno judge who was shot in the chest by a businessman while standing in his chambers in June 2006 has received the lowest rating among Washoe County District Court judges, a survey found.
The county Bar Association survey of 244 lawyers gave Family Court Judge Chuck Weller a score of 3.04 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the top score.
Sixty-three percent of those surveyed said Weller should not stay on the bench while 37 percent disagreed.
Weller, who received a score of 3.3 in the 2006 survey, questioned the validity of the survey.
Darren Mack was convicted of attempted murder in the shooting of the judge and murder in the death of Mack’s wife, Charla. Weller was presiding over their divorce.
“I have reason to believe that lawyers associated with Darren Mack who have not appeared in my court participated in the survey,” Weller told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
“The Bar Association does nothing to make sure that only lawyers who appeared before a particular court participate in the survey. Anybody who wants to can send it in,” the judge said.
Lawyers must agree to evaluate only the judges with whom they have had substantive and recent experience, said Rob Dotson, former Bar Association president and chairman of the 2008 judicial evaluations.
“They are officers of the court and have certified that they have fulfilled that obligation before surveying the judges,” he said.
Lawyers answered questions from how well the judge understands the law to whether he or she exhibits bias.
Judge Brent Adams, at 4.4, and Family Court Judge David Hardy, at 4.43, received the highest scores among district judges.
Reno-Verdi Justice of the Peace Pete Sferrazza, a former county commissioner and Reno mayor, had the lowest rating of all judges, 2.55.
Nevada Supreme Court justices were not scored but were given retention ratings by the lawyers.
Justice James Hardesty led with 92 percent saying he should stay on the job.
Only 48 percent said Justice Nancy Saitta should be retained.
The survey is billed as an important tool for voters.