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Candidates in Family Court Department X claim experience

Experience is the buzzword in the race for the newly created Family Court Department X seat, where attorneys Heidi Almase and Jim Davis are competing.

Almase has more than 20 years experience as an attorney, while only focusing on family law for the last two and a half years. Davis has been in family law since he graduated from UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law 15 years ago.

Davis said he has the experience needed for the job, and claimed his opponent lacks it, because she’s spent most of her career practicing criminal law. He said he believes being a judge should not be on-the-job training and that he would be ready on Day 1.

Davis currently sits as pro tem hearing master for the child support enforcement court, but has never been elected judge before. But Almase has judicial experience: She was formerly a city of Las Vegas Municipal Court judge.

She also says her almost 5,000 hours exclusively in family law and life experience — she’s the child of a single parent and a single parent herself — could make her a good Family Court judge.

Both attorneys have had controversial social media posts. In 2017, a doctored photo of Almase with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was published on her campaign Facebook page that hinted at an endorsement. The fabricated “meme” was taken down and Almase apologized in all her social media platforms and self-reported the incident to the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, she said.

“I think it’s important not just how we respond to our mistakes but what we learned from them,” she said. “In this case, I intend to take the lessons I learned from this instance going forward.”

Davis’ campaign Facebook page shared a post from a Democratic page, which could raise concerns because judicial posts are considered nonpartisan.

“A lot of the things I post are informative to anybody in Clark County,” he said. “It is important that voters are informed on how to vote since the ballot process changed in the special session to mail-in voting.”

(While all active registered voters will receive mail ballots in the general election, in-person voting will still be available during early voting and on Election Day, even under the new law.)

Both attorneys believe judges should come into court prepared, having read the written pleadings, but also keep an open mind to oral arguments because things could have changed.

If elected, the attorneys would like to improve the court process. Almase would like to increase accessibility in the case filing process, with materials in more languages, aid for people with reading deficiencies, video instructions for people with technological deficiency and disabilities. Davis would work on the court’s efficiency and how long cases take to be resolved.

Contact Jannelle Calderon at jcalderon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @NewsyJan on Twitter.

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