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EDITORIAL: Voters must avoid bad choices for bench

Election Day is three days away. And plenty of Clark County voters remain stumped by the more than two dozen judicial races on the ballot — if they plan to vote on these important contests at all.

Many District Court and Family Court candidates are immensely qualified for the job, or already are doing a fine job. But some candidates aren’t. And a handful of hopefuls have no business running for the bench, much less sitting on it.

The Review-Journal provides you, the voter, with an abundance of resources to help you make an informed decision in every contest, including judicial races. The newspaper conducts a biennial Judicial Performance Evaluation that’s based on survey responses from county attorneys. The complete ratings can be found online at www.reviewjournal.com/judicial-performance-evaluation. The newspaper’s online voter guide (www.reviewjournal.com/voter-guide) allows voters to research individual races and responses from the candidates themselves.

And be sure to review the newspaper’s endorsements at the link below. The judicial recommendations alone are based on interviews with about 100 candidates over several months, reviews of their records and discussions with the legal community. We vetted these candidates to the best of our ability.

Educate yourself. If you do, you’ll find a handful of races where the choice is exceptionally clear.

In Family Court, Department T, Lisa Brown is hoping voters have forgotten that they fired her in 2008 for exceptionally poor performance. In 2006, she posted one of the worst scores in the history of the newspaper’s judicial survey: just 29 percent of attorneys said she should be retained. Voters should support Maria Maskall instead.

District Court, Department 8 features the incumbent most deserving of replacement: Judge Doug Smith, whose decisions have been reversed by the Nevada Supreme Court nearly two dozen times in the past four-plus years and who admits he sometimes ignores the law. Voters should support Christine Guerci-Nyhus instead.

Family Court, Department J, features another awful incumbent, Judge Kenneth Pollock. Just 40 percent of attorneys said he should be retained in last year’s Review-Journal survey. Voters should support his challenger, Rena Hughes.

The District Court, Department 22 race features a different dynamic: a strong incumbent facing a dangerous challenger. Judge Susan Johnson deserves re-election over Jacob Hafter, who this year went on a social media tirade against a sitting judge during his trial before her.

▶ ON THE WEB: For a complete list of the Review-Journal editorial board’s 2014 election endorsements, go to www.reviewjournal.com/endorsements. The complete list of candidate endorsements will be published Sunday.

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