To District Court Judge Jacqueline Bluth, a judge’s job is to protect the community. And as a candidate fighting to keep her seat in Department 6, she wants to continue to do just that.
“When people walk through the doors of my courtroom, I want them to feel like they were listened to, that they were heard, that they were treated with dignity and respect,” she told the Review-Journal in a debate earlier this month. “No matter who you are, how much money you have, what color you are and what your background is.”
Bluth, a former Clark County chief deputy district attorney, was appointed to the position last year by Gov. Steve Sisolak.
Her opponent is Todd Leventhal, is a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney with his own firm, Leventhal and Associates. He famously represented one of the defendants in the Bundy standoff trial, but did not participate in the Review-Journal debate and could not be reached for comment for this story.
Bluth said that there has been a “tremendous” backlog in the system as a result of regulations put in place due to the coronavirus.
As a former prosecutor, Bluth says she’s tough on crime, but not vindictive.
“Your job is to achieve justice, and justice doesn’t always mean, ‘hey we’re going to get this person for everything that they have,’ it means looking at the situation,” she said.
In her experience as a prosecutor, Bluth said, she’s learned there’s a spectrum in the criminal justice system.
There are people who come to court for low-level offenses, such as veterans coming home from war, those who are homeless or drug addicted, she said.
“Those individuals need services so that they can be rehabilitated and go back into the community. When they win, we win,” Bluth said. “But on the other side of the spectrum are the people that, quite honestly, should be in prison.”
Bluth said she was also in support of more case law to use as precedent for judges at the District Court level, and was open to discussions about addressing the predominant number of Black men in the criminal justice system.
“That issue is complex, and I think that it’s going to take a lot of work on both sides and also with community leaders in discussing, ‘why are we seeing this? What can we do?’” she said.
“Do I think that we need to go back to the building blocks and back to the drawing board and work hard to make sure that people who come to court feel like it doesn’t matter the color of their skin? Yeah, I’m on board with that.”