Nine finalists for three openings in Clark County District Court were selected this week by a state panel.
The Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection picked five women and four men, including private lawyers, an attorney who retired from the Nevada State Bar, two prosecutors and a sitting domestic violence hearing master.
The nine-person commission, organized by the Nevada Supreme Court and chaired by Chief Justice Mark Gibbons, selected the finalists from 26 applicants, each of whom were allowed to apply for only one of the openings.
A trio of finalists named Wednesday afternoon are seeking to replace former District Judge Jennifer Togliatti, who retired this year.
They are: Mark Gentile, 59, with the Las Vegas firm Gentile Law Group and who specializes in insurance defense and personal injury claims; John Hunt, 64, a partner with the Las Vegas firm Clark Hill PLC who focuses on civil litigation; and Cristina Silva, 39, an assistant U.S. attorney in Nevada since 2011 and who has served as chief of the office’s criminal division for a year.
Former District Judge Mark Bailus, appointed by then-Gov. Brian Sandoval to serve from May 2017 until the term expired in January, applied for the opening after losing a two-person race as an incumbent in November. In his application for the seat, the former criminal defense attorney included a letter from his campaign manager that blamed the gender of his opponent, Mary Holthus, for his failed election bid.
Three others are vying for the District Court seat left vacant with the election of Elissa Cadish to the Nevada Supreme Court.
They are: Trevor Atkin, 56, a managing partner with the Las Vegas firm Atkin Winner & Sherrod who focuses on civil litigation; Stephanie Barker, 56, of Boulder City, who retired in 2017 as assistant bar counsel for the state bar; and Jacqueline Bluth, 37, a chief deputy district attorney since 2007 who concentrates on homicide cases.
The three finalists vying to replace retired Family Court Judge Cynthia Dianne Steel are: Rhonda Forsberg, 56, a Henderson solo practitioner who focuses on divorce, custody, guardianship and other family matters; Amy Mastin, 49, who has served as a domestic violence hearing master in Family Court since 2013; and Shann Winesett, 52, a partner with Pecos Law Group in Las Vegas who concentrates on preparing and processing domestic relations orders.
Gov. Steve Sisolak has roughly a month to make the appointments. Should any of the seats not be filled in that window, the governor is prohibited from making other appointments to public office, according to Supreme Court spokesman Michael Sommermeyer.
Sisolak spokeswoman Helen Kalla said the governor would schedule interviews with candidates in the coming weeks.
Each judicial seat is up for election in 2020. The job pays roughly $160,000 annually.