Primary sets up two-man election for LV judgeship

A 37-year-old deputy public defender will face a 42-year-old lawyer in the June 5 general election for the Las Vegas Municipal Court Department 6 judgeship.

Lynn Avants, son of longtime Las Vegas police homicide investigator Beecher Avants, received 22 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s crowded primary race.

Finishing second was Martin Hastings, who pulled in 20 percent of the vote.

The two will face off in two months to determine who will take the bench.

“I’m completely honored,” the younger Avants said. “My dedication is to serving the public, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do in my life.”

Hastings likewise said he was excited to be advancing to the general election.

“It’s been fabulous, and people understand we are trying to make a difference by deterring crime,” he said.

City judges deal with misdemeanor crimes. Nonetheless, voters apparently responded to the messages of Avants and Hastings, who both ran a “tough-on-crime” campaign.

Avants has been a deputy public defender for nine years. He was a defense attorney for high-profile homicide suspect Brookey Lee West, who was convicted of killing her mother and stashing the body in a Las Vegas storage shed.

Avants’ platform emphasized that he would be tough on criminals.

On one of his campaign fliers, the question “What can you do to keep criminals where they belong?” was imposed over a photo of a jail cell.

Avants also has said he wants to make municipal courts more efficient.

“The most important thing is streamlining court calendars to make them as efficient as humanly possible,” he said. “I want to make sure the taxpayers’ dollars are well taken care of.”

Hastings, a practicing lawyer in Las Vegas for 17 years, also ran on a tough-on-crime message that he said was personal.

“My father was killed by a drunk driver,” Hastings said. “My mother was kidnapped out of her house just recently. Our house was broken into, and my wife was attacked.”

Hastings narrowly bested Las Vegas lawyer Bill Henderson, who received 18 percent of the vote.

Finishing fourth in the seven-candidate race was Deputy Public Defender Bill Gonzalez, who represents children in the juvenile division.

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