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Clark County Family Court sees several close races

Updated November 4, 2020 - 12:43 pm

Fifteen Family Court candidates ran unopposed on the general election ballot, effectively securing their seats on the bench prior to Election Day.

That left Clark County voters responsible for deciding 11 of the remaining Family Court races, though it was still not known Wednesday morning who among the 22 candidates in those races would fill the open seats. Some mail ballots have yet to be counted, which could change the results of some close races.

With the 20 existing Family Court seats up for grabs, six seats were added this year to Family Court, where decisions regarding custody and alimony are made. Four judges retired, and they were among the six judges who received failing retention scores in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s 2019 Judicial Performance Evaluation.

The 15 candidates who ran unopposed included incumbents William Voy, Linda Marquis, Rebecca Burton, Bob Teuton, Denise Gentile, Art Richie, Cynthia Giuliani, David Gibson Jr., Mathew Harter, Frank Sullivan, Bryce Duckworth, Bill Henderson and Vincent Ochoa. Candidates Margaret Pickard and Stephanie Charter secured their seats in the June primary.

Here’s a look at the preliminary results as of about 3:30 a.m. in the 11 remaining Family Court races:

Department E

Incumbent Charles Hoskin, who has been the presiding judge over Family Court since 2014, had 63 percent of the vote. His challenger, longtime Las Vegas lawyer Thomas Kurtz, received 37 percent of the vote.

Department G

Rhonda Forsberg, who was appointed in April 2019, had 70 percent of the vote, while attorney Benjamin Boone Childs Sr. had 30 percent.

In a recent debate hosted by the Review-Journal, Forsberg asked for six more years on the bench to ensure fairness in cases, especially for litigants who cannot afford counsel.

Meanwhile, Childs, a father to four adopted children, said he is deeply familiar with the Family Court system, which he believes moves too slowly.

Department I

In a race for retiring Judge Cheryl Moss’ seat, Family Court Hearing Master Soonhee “Sunny” Bailey had 56 percent of the vote. Local attorney Michelle Tobler had 44 percent.

Department J

Attorney J. Scott MacDonald received 43 percent of the vote, while public defender Dedree “Dee” Butler had 57 percent. The two had a close primary race.

Department M

Family Court Hearing Master Amy Mastin and Lynn Hughes, a Las Vegas attorney with more than two decades of experience, were tied early Wednesday, each receiving 50 percent of the vote.

Department P

Attorney Mary Perry received 55 percent of the vote to Family Court law clerk Sara Dayani’s 45 percent in the race to replace retiring Judge Sandra Pomrenze.

In the primary, Perry received 46 percent of the vote, and Dayani secured 38 percent.

Department T

Two Las Vegas lawyers — Jason Stoffel and Nadin Cutter — are going after retiring Judge Lisa Brown’s seat. Cutter had 51 percent of the vote, while Stoffel received 49 percent.

Department U

The contest for one of the six new Family Court seats drew two attorneys, Bill Gonzalez and Dawn Throne, who fought a close primary race. It was again a close race as of Wednesday morning, with each candidate tied at 50 percent of the vote.

Department W

Each candidate for the new Department W seat has at least a decade of experience in family law.

Attorney Stacy Michelle Rocheleau received 55 percent of the vote. Her opponent, Adriana Rincon White, had 45 percent.

Department X

Attorney Heidi Almase and Jim Davis were tied Wednesday morning, each securing 50 percent of the vote. Almase has more than 20 years of experience as an attorney, but she has focused on family law only in the past two years, while Davis has been practicing family law since he graduated from UNLV’s Boyd Law School 15 years ago.

Department Z

Michele “Shell” Mercer was leading her opponent, Romeo Perez, on Wednesday morning. Mercer had 58 percent of the vote, while Perez had 42 percent. Each candidate has more than 2o years of experience in family law.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

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