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Judicial debate: Clark County District Court, Dept. 21: Candidates lay out experience

A battle for one of the open seats in District Court could come down to how voters view experience.

Candidates Caesar Almase, Tara Clark Newberry, Bruce Gale and Jacob Reynolds are vying for a seat in Department 21, which is being vacated by retiring Judge Valerie Adair.

Each of them participated in a Las Vegas Review-Journal primary election debate, laying out their qualifications and explaining their judicial philosophies.

In primary races where no candidate captures a majority of votes cast, the top two finishers will advance to November’s general election. If a candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the June primary, the candidate will win the election.

Newberry, licensed as an attorney in Nevada in 2007, pointed to her experience as a patrol officer and detective in Cincinnati for eight years.

“Having a law enforcement background has afforded me the opportunity to see how crime affects the public,” she said. “And I think it’s important for a judge to have judicial temperament. That comes from life experience as well as legal experience.”

Almase, meanwhile, has worked for most of his nearly 18-year legal career as a criminal defense attorney.

“My opponents simply do not have the jury trial or District Court experience that I bring to the table,” he said. “I’m in court almost every day for a variety of proceedings. As a voter, you need to consider what type of judge you’d want in your trial. If you had a trial in District Court, would you want a person with very little jury trial experience?”

Gale, licensed in the state in 1988, said he had the longest legal career among the candidates

“I have the most years of experience and the most diverse experience of all candidates,” he said. “I have the most experience to handle all four types of calendars.”

Those calendars include civil cases, criminal cases, probate and trust issues, and business court.

Reynolds, licensed in 2006, touted an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a peer-review rating system for lawyers, saying he was the “highest-rated attorney in this race” and the only one with “substantial bipartisan support.”

“That’s why people on both sides of the aisle support me,” he added. “Because they know that I can see both sides of an issue.”

The newspaper is hosting 23 scheduled events for more than 70 candidates in judicial primary races for Family Court, District Court and the Nevada Supreme Court.

While the debates can be found on reviewjournal.com, they air Wednesday and Saturday nights on Cox Cable’s YurView Channel 14 as part of a video partnership between the media companies.

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

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