Maupin rules out another campaign

Nevada Supreme Court Justice Bill Maupin will not seek re-election, saying Tuesday he intends to spend time focusing on his family and traveling.

“It’s time for me to make some important life decisions, and one of them is for me to move on,” Maupin, 61, said. “The court has accomplished what I hoped it would accomplish when I first undertook to be a member of the court.”

Maupin was due to run for his third term on the Supreme Court in November. He said he heard of no opponents planning to challenge him and that his decision was not based on the upcoming election.

“I had made this decision personally several months ago,” Maupin said.

District Judge Stewart Bell, who announced this week he will not run for re-election, said Tuesday he has no intention of making a bid for Maupin’s Supreme Court seat.

“I want to move on to making some kind of part-time contribution, and that’s what I am going to do,” Bell said. “I don’t know who is going to run (for Maupin’s seat), but I hope they are capable.”

A Western High School graduate, Maupin was first elected to the Supreme Court in 1996. In 2002, he handily defeated former District Court Judge Don Chairez by garnering 53 percent of the votes for Seat B on the Supreme Court.

Maupin cited two important accomplishments by the court while he was in office. As chief justice, he was instrumental in opening the court to indigent defendants and put into place a program that assured indigents adequate representation.

He authorized a study designed to examine caseloads for attorneys and assembled a commission to review compliance of the indigent program. He referred to the commission’s work as “the most important examination of the criminal justice system in recent years.”

He said the court also was successful in reducing its backlog of cases, to 1,400 from 2,500.

“It’s still a huge caseload, but the court itself is operating under an internal management construct that has been superb,” Maupin said.

He plans to travel to Haiti with ophthalmologist Kenneth Westfield to help provide eye care to people there. He has made the trips since 2002.

Maupin said he also plans to write, work as a consultant and spend more time with his family.

He has not ruled out practicing law again or running for public office. He wouldn’t say which office that might be.

Prior to being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1992, Maupin was a District Court judge. Before that, he worked as a trial lawyer for more than two decades and co-founded the law firm Thorndal, Backus, Maupin and Armstrong, Ltd.

As a trial lawyer, Maupin was co-lead counsel in the MGM disaster litigation, a case he called “one of the most complex civil cases in American history.”

The civil case followed the deadly 1980 fire at the MGM Grand hotel and casino, now Bally’s.

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

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