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Family court employee, local attorney fight for departing judge’s seat

A Family Court hearing master and a local attorney with 24 years of experience in Nevada are running for the judicial seat of a departing Family Court judge.

Soonhee “Sunny” Bailey and Michelle Tobler are running for Family Court judge in Department I after the 20-year term of Cheryl Moss ends.

Moss was among six judges in Family Court suggested for replacement based on the 2019 Judicial Performance Evaluation sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Her retention score had fallen from 44 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2019. Moss also received her lowest score on punctuality when 58 percent of 83 respondents said Moss failed at keeping her court calendar moving.

Bailey clearly recognized her predecessor’s criticisms when she divulged her judicial philosophy to the Review-Journal during a debate.

“When you come into the court system, you want your matter resolved as quickly as possible,” she said. “You want a judge who’s going to follow the law and treat everyone with respect and make sure that your case is heard fully before they render a decision.”

Tobler declined to participate in this debate, which was moderated by Politics and Government Editor Steve Sebelius.

Sebelius questioned Bailey’s commitment to the Family Court Department after her failed run for District Court in 2012. Bailey said she’s been a Juvenile Delinquency Hearing Master in Family Court, a judge-appointed position, for six years.

“I plan on staying here. I enjoy working with the families, especially the youth of our area,” she said. “I really feel that this is where I can make the most impact.”

In 2018 Bailey and Family Court Judge William Voy launched Detention Alternatives for Autistic Youth Court, or DAAY Court, a specialty court geared toward helping autistic children after she adopted an autistic daughter.

Bailey said her current position in Family Court has put her in a unique position to witness the 500-700 proceedings of Family Court each month and suggest improvements.

“People don’t understand the volume of cases we hear,” she said in her closing statements. “That would be my number one goal is to keep moving cases along.”

Contact Sabrina Schnur at sschnur@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter.

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