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Suspended Goodsprings judge resigns

A longtime Goodsprings judge has resigned less than a month after being suspended without pay for a year.

Former Justice of the Peace Dawn Haviland resigned effective Sept. 18. She had served as Goodsprings’ only justice of the peace since she was appointed to the position in 1999.

Haviland’s attorney, Albert Marquis, said the former judge was disheartened by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline’s investigation into and ruling on ethics charges that led to her suspension without pay in late August.

“What a terrible injustice was reaped upon Dawn Haviland,” Marquis said. “Three disgruntled employees conspired together to drag a judge off the bench, and with the help of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline they succeeded.”

Marquis added that Haviland could not afford the “thousands of dollars” it would cost to attend classes at the Nevada Judicial College at her own expense, which was a requirement of her punishment.

County spokesman Erik Pappa said three temporary justices of the peace will rotate to cover Haviland’s calendar. The same arrangement has been in place since December, when Haviland was suspended with pay.

Commissioners are scheduled to discuss Tuesday how they will replace Haviland and Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis, who resigned in August.

Commissioners can fill the vacancies by either appointment or special election.

Haviland’s term was set to expire in January 2019.

Year-long investigation

The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline suspended Haviland with pay in December based on findings “into numerous allegations of judicial misconduct,” according to a public notice released at the time.

In March, state disciplinary investigators charged Haviland with multiple ethics complaints, including sealing her then-son-in-law’s criminal records, ordering staff to run background checks on her friend’s boyfriend, and bullying employees while using commentary rife with vulgarity.

In a 14-page written response Haviland claimed the charges were false and concocted by disgruntled employees.

“I have at all times during my 20-year career attempted to administer justice fairly and within the confines of the law,” Haviland wrote.

The commission suspended Haviland without pay in late August.

In its ruling, the commission wrote Haviland was punished for her “repeated failure over several years to follow the law, her proclivity towards following her own moral compass in administering her version of justice irrespective of the law, and her lack of remorse and admission of wrongdoing for the same.”

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477- 3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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