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Incumbent Scotti facing public defender Kierny in Dept. 2

A Las Vegas judge shadowed by a courtroom outburst more than three years ago faces a public defender as an opponent in the November election.

Earlier this month, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline leveled charges against Judge Richard Scotti for tossing a pocket U.S. Constitution at a wall as he became frustrated during jury selection.

His opponent, Carli Kierny, said that the incident showed Scotti should not retained.

“You deserve better than a judge who has judicial temperament issues,” Kierny said during a Review-Journal debate. “You deserve a judge who upholds the Constitution and doesn’t throw it at jurors.”

Scotti apologized for the incident and said that “I was trying my hardest to provide both sides a fair trial.”

And if campaign contributions are any indication, Scotti has earned strong support for his retention. As the incumbent, Scotti had raised nearly 10 times as much money for his campaign compared with Kierny: nearly $194,000 to her $20,000.

“I’m dedicated to service to the people of Clark County,” he said.

Scotti has repeatedly expressed contrition for the outburst, which led to an overturned conviction. Last year, he received a 52 percent retention rating from lawyers who participated in a Review-Journal judicial survey.

Kierny, licensed in Nevada since 2010, said Scotti was “unfit to be on the bench.” She was part of the defense team during the trial in which Scotti threw the Constitution.

“I thought she was honestly a woman who had reservations about the case, and didn’t think she would have been fair to my client,” Kierny said of the juror whose sincerity Scotti had question. “He never reached out to me, other counsel or the juror to say he was sorry. I think ultimately he was sorry that his actions were revealed to the public, and the Nevada Supreme Court chastised him for those actions.

Scotti, who has been licensed to practice law in Nevada since 1992, called his opponent’s experience “quite narrow.” He was first elected to the bench in 2014.

“The people of clark county deserve a judge with broad, broad experience because of the array of issues that come before us,” he said.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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