EDITORIAL: For Family Court, Departments B, C and D

The Review-Journal editorial board offers the following endorsements in this fall’s elections for Family Court, Departments B, C and D:

Judge Gloria Sanchez O’Malley is not seeking re-election after more than 20 years on the bench. Her retirement from Department B led to an eight-candidate primary election. That field included a few fine candidates who would have brought tremendous experience and integrity to a court that badly needs judges with both qualities. Unfortunately, voters backed two of the weakest candidates in the field. Linda Marquis and Joseph Scalia advanced to November’s ballot.

Ms. Marquis, who barely has the 10 years of experience required to seek a judgeship, is running a well-funded campaign for the wrong office. She has served as a fill-in justice of the peace in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas and as an alternate judge in Las Vegas Municipal Court. She has handled a wide variety of criminal and civil work. But she has almost no family law experience. If elected, she will learn the ropes of Family Court on the job. Other inexperienced attorneys have followed this opportunistic path, and it hasn’t worked out well for the public.

Mr. Scalia has about 20 years of experience practicing family law and handling other kinds of cases in his high-volume practice. However, one month after June’s primary election, the State Bar of Nevada publicly reprimanded Mr. Scalia for bouncing a check from his client trust account. According to the reprimand, Mr. Scalia failed to maintain funds in his client trust account, he failed a client through exceptionally poor work, and he failed to refund that client his retainer until the state bar intervened. He had been reprimanded by the bar previously.

Voters should hold their noses in this race. The Review-Journal offers no endorsement in Department B.

Fortunately, the Department C campaign guarantees the public a significant upgrade to the bench. Judge Steven Jones, who pleaded guilty this month to federal criminal charges in connection with a multimillion-dollar investment scheme, is out. Rebecca Burton and Jack Howard advanced from June’s five-candidate primary. Mr. Howard has about 40 years of practice under his belt. But Ms. Burton, who exclusively practices family law and is one of just 34 family law specialists certified by the state bar, isn’t just the best candidate in this race — she’s one of the best candidates on the entire ballot. The Review-Journal endorses Rebecca Burton in Department C.

In Department D, incumbent Robert Teuton, one of the highest-rated judges in Family Court, is being challenged by Robert Kurth. In last year’s Review-Journal Judicial Performance Evaluation, 81 percent of attorneys who participated in the survey said Judge Teuton should be retained. Voters have no reason to replace Judge Teuton. The Review-Journal endorses Robert Teuton in Department D.

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