Las Vegas attorney Thomas Kurtz and incumbent Family Court Judge Charles “Chuck” Hoskin are running to be elected judge for Family Court Department E this November.
Kurtz grew up in upstate New York before relocating to Las Vegas with his family in the 1970s. He began working as an attorney in 1983 and later worked as an alternate Municipal Court judge for nine years. He was then hired as a full-time hearing master in Family Court from 2011 until 2016. Since then, Kurtz has worked at his own practice defending civil cases.
After watching the documentary “The Guardians,” which cataloged the mistreatment of senior citizens through guardianship cases in Las Vegas, Kurtz said he was inspired to run for a seat on the bench. These cases, which Kurtz said began with court orders, included seniors being removed from their residences without their consent and their possessions being taken away.
Kurtz said he plans to use his courtroom experience as both an attorney and hearing master to ensure proper procedure is followed in guardianship cases to protect senior citizens. He has been endorsed by The Vegas Voice, a newsletter for local seniors.
“I’m going to work to put a stop to legal villainy in guardianship,” Kurtz said. “A judge is an elected person and carries a responsibility to protect the people they’re supposed to serve, and that’s my goal.”
Both Kurtz and Hoskin, who has served on the bench for 11 years, agree that the use of video hearings amid the coronavirus has helped speed up the judicial process, but Hoskin noted that it is more difficult to take evidence in virtual hearings.
Hoskin added he hopes some of the changes that have helped speed up the judicial process will continue when in-person hearings are reinstated.
Prior to taking the bench, Hoskin practiced family law for 18 years. As a judge, Hoskin said one of his primary goals is providing equal access to justice. He works with the Family Self-Help Center to ensure those who are struggling are able to participate in the justice system.
Hoskin has also worked to make the child support process more efficient and ensure temporary protective orders against domestic violence are heard in real time when an application is turned in at the courthouse, instead of waiting for an application to be approved. Hoskin added that he intends to maintain compassion and patience for those in his courtroom, where he says experience is vital.
“In family divisions, judges see people at their worst,” Hoskin said. “This is a tough place for people to be, and I understand that. I want to help them through that process.”
Hoskin has been endorsed by the Nevada Law Enforcement Coalition, Clark County Firefighters and the Central Labor Council, among others.