Biases of federal court’s Judge Jones waste public funds

Updated June 3, 2018 - 10:29 am

Nevada’s most overturned federal judge — Robert Clive Jones — was overturned yet again in one case and removed from another because of his bias against the U.S. government.

It’s a pattern for the Reno-based judge. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has on at least eight occasions since 2012 authored opinions criticizing him harshly.

He was most recently chastised in May, according to Courthouse News Service, a web-based national news organization specializing in covering civil litigation.

A three-judge panel said Jones was biased in two complicated water cases involving Walker River in Northern Nevada.

In one case, Jones ruled against the government and was reversed. An appellate judge wrote that Jones “demonstrated his unwillingness to consider the United States’ interest in this case.”

A second water case was reassigned. The appellate judges wrote that “Judge Jones would have substantial difficulty putting out of his mind previously expressed views about the federal government and its attorneys, and that reassignment will preserve the appearance of justice.”

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Jones was a bankruptcy judge for 10 years before he was appointed a district judge in 2003. He relocated to Reno in 2009 and took senior status in 2016.

An analysis by the online legal research service Westlaw for the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2016 showed he was the most overturned judge in Nevada’s U.S. District Court. Out of 321 cases heard by Jones since he was appointed in October 2003 until March 2016, Westlaw found 38 (12 percent) were fully reversed. An additional 38 cases were affirmed in part and reversed in part.

One would think he would be shamed into fully retiring, given all the money that has been wasted on cases being overturned or reassigned because of his biases.

In a 2016 column, I urged him to leave the bench after the 9th Circuit, for the sixth time since 2012, issued an opinion slamming Jones.

Here are a few of the appellate judges’ comments in prior cases:

“Judge Jones excoriated and mocked counsel and offered lengthy criticisms of the settlement agreement despite counsel’s repeated statements that the parties were not seeking the court’s approval.

“Among other things, Judge Jones noted his own laughter on the record, repeatedly lobbed accusations of malpractice, described counsel’s comments as ‘mealy-mouthed’ and suggested that counsel return to law school.”

‘None of These Candidates’

Jones has interjected himself into political issues and been overturned.

In 2012, the Mormon judge rejected same-sex marriage in Nevada but was overturned two years later.

In 2012 he also was accused of trying to influence a presidential race by ruling in a lawsuit brought by 11 Nevada Republicans that the uniquely Nevada ballot choice of “None of These Candidates” was unconstitutional and ordering it removed from the ballot.

Then he delayed signing the order, which would have prevented it from being appealed and overturned in time for the election. Republicans feared “None” might pull votes from presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Nevada, a swing state.

The appellate court issued an emergency stay that kept Jones’ ruling from taking effect until the appellate court could hear an appeal. That allowed the “None of These Candidates” option to stay on the ballot for the November 2012 elections.

Called out for ‘arrogance’

The language in the final opinion overturning Jones and retaining “None” was brutal. “Such arrogance and assumption of power by one individual is not acceptable in our judicial system,” it read, in part.

Jones has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

However, in the “None” case, when appellate Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote that Jones was making a “a deliberate attempt to evade review by the higher courts,” Jones issued a written comment that “Judge Reinhardt’s suggestion of a nefarious motivation was false.”

But Jones never explained why, after ruling from the bench, he didn’t sign his order in the time-sensitive case.

In 2015, he was told to stop his practice of barring out-of-state U.S. attorneys from his courtroom. He said that some government attorneys were unethical, although he never named them, just painted all with a broad brush.

Does the waste of time and money in legal cases when his opinions are overturned matter to Jones? Or even embarrass the 71-year-old judge?

Obviously not.

Look at the Hage ranching family case, which offers parallels to the Bundy ranch situation.

Since the early 1990s, the Hage family ran their cattle on Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service land near Tonopah without permits. So the government sued the family.

In 2013 Jones wrote an opinion calling the federal government’s actions vindictive against the Hage family.

The higher court reversed him and agreed with the government that the ranching family was trespassing on public lands without a permit. Jones’ 104-page opinion “plainly” went against federal law.

A year ago, U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro ordered the family to pay $587,000 for grazing cattle on federal lands.

For a second time, I suggest Jones fully retire and quit mucking with justice. He’ll get his full benefits, so he’s not working because he needs the money.

To me, he seems to be working to promote his agenda.

That’s wrong.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column runs Sundays in the Nevada section. Contact her at jane@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0275. Follow @janeannmorrison on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Thunder Mountain monument stands as a tribute to Native American culture
Caretaker Fred Lewis talks about Thunder Mountain monument in central Nevada, made from concrete and found items. The five-acre site is a tribute to Native Peoples of the West. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New CCSD superintendent Jesus F. Jara aims for 1st in the nation
On his third day as Clark County School District superintendent, Jesus F. Jara talks about his vision for the future during a visit to Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Ceremony Recognizes Refugee Students, Graduates
Rosy Mibulano, a graduate of Las Vegas High School who came to America from the Congo in 2015, was recognized in a ceremony for refugee students in Clark County. Like many other students relocated to Las Vegas from countries around the world, Rosy had a challenging high school experience, from learning English to adjusting to American customs and taking care of her family. On top of that, she wants to go to school to become a nurse so she can take care of her mother, who suffers from diabetes. The annual Refugee Recognition Ceremony celebrates the enormous lengths these young adults go through to create a new life for themselves. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Water leak at Mandalay Bay convention center
The convention center area of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas experienced major flooding Tuesday afternoon. Credit: Melinda Cook
Hollywood Memorabilia Up For Grabs at Las Vegas Auction
Elvis Presley's car, Marilyn Monroe's bras, Han Solo's blaster, and Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" suit are just some of the items that are up for auction at Julien's Auctions at Planet Hollywood June 22 and 23. The auction's viewing room at Planet Hollywood is open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Planet Hollywood. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Springs Preserve Exhibit Shows Off "Nature's Ninjas"
"Nature's Ninjas" arrives at the Springs Preserve, in an exhibit and live show featuring critters that come with natural defenses, from armadillos to snakes, poison dart frogs to scorpions and tarantulas (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CrossRoads of Southern Nevada psychiatric urgent care to open in Las Vegas
Jeff Iverson, who operates the nonprofit sober living facility Freedom House, is opening a private addiction treatment center that will operate a detoxification center and transitional living for substance users trying to recover. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Wayne Newton surprises burglars
Wayne Newton and his wife, Kathleen, arrived at their southeast Las Vegas home shortly before midnight on Wednesday to find two burglars inside their house. The burglars fled and were seen heading north through the property. Las Vegas police quickly set up a perimeter and launched an extensive search of the area, but the suspects were able to escape. It was unclear if the burglars got away with anything of value. Several items, under the watchful eyes of the police, were seen on the ground near the home's main driveway. Neither Newton, nor his wife, were injured. The Newtons were not available for comment.
Police Officers Turn Off Body Cameras
In four separate body camera videos from the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting released Wednesday, officers in a strike team are instructed to turn their body cameras off and comply with the request.
Debra Saunders reports from Singapore
Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent talks about the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
How long will North Korea's denuclearization take?
In Singapore, Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent Debra Saunders asks President Donald Trump how long North Korea's denuclearization will take. White House video.
LVCVA purchase of gift cards hidden
A former LVCVA executive hid the purchase of $90,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards in records at the agency. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, said the money was for promotional events and did not disclose that it was for gift cards. Lawson also instructed Southwest employees to submit invoices without mentioning the purchases were for the cards. More than $50,000 of the cards cannot be accounted for. The convention authority is publicly funded . Lawson recently resigned.
Kim Jong Un visits Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his entourage visited the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore briefly Monday night, local time. (Video by Philip Chope)
Coca-Cola Bottle Purse Has 9,888 Diamonds
Designer Kathrine Baumann and jeweler Aaron Shum set the Guinness World Record for most diamonds (9,888) set on a handbag. The Coca Cola bottle-shaped purse was on display at the Coca Cola Store on the Strip. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sentosa Island a pleasure resort with a pirate past
The site of Tuesday's U.S.-North Korea summit is known for theme parks and resorts. But before that, it was known as a pirate island. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge Sandra Pomrenze's comment about girl's hair
Nevada Races Full of Women From Both Sides
It's already been a historic election season for women in politics. Record numbers of women are running for political office all over the country - including Nevada. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
East Las Vegas home damaged by fire
Clark County Fire Department crews responded to a house fire in east Las Vegas Thursday morning. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
911 call: Mom tries to get to son shot at Route 91
A woman stuck on the interstate during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, tries to get to her son. 911 call released by Las Vegas police.
Las Vegas 911 caller reports people shot on Oct. 1
A 911 caller on Oct. 1, 2017, reports several people shot at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
911 call from woman under stage in Las Vegas shooting
A 911 call from a woman underneath the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival during the Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooting.
LVCVA facing scandal over gift cards
LVCVA is facing a growing scandal over airline gift cards. LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned.
Siblings separated in the foster care system get a day together
St. Jude's Ranch for Children and Cowabunga Bay Cares program partnered to bring 75 siblings together for the day to play on the water slides and in the pools at the Henderson water park. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People flee the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Las Vegas police released footage from a camera on Mandalay Bay of the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Aaliyah Inghram awarded medal of courage
Aaliyah Inghram, a 10-year-old girl who was shot while protecting her 18-month-old brother and 4-year-old cousin during a shooting on May 8, awarded medal of courage. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Las Vegans Pack Public Lands Open House
A crowd filled the Clark County Library conference room Tuesday afternoon where Clark County officials hold their first -- and possibly only -- public meeting on plans to open almost 39,000 acres of federal land for development just outside the Las Vegas metropolitan area. County commissioners are set to vote June 19 on a potentially controversial resolution seeking federal legislation that would set aside tens of thousands of acres for conservation while giving Nevada’s largest community more room to grow. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like