In Family Court Department C, we favor the enthusiasm of long-time Judge Steven Jones, who garners a 75 percent retention rating, over less-experienced Maria Maskall.
In Family Court Department F, Bill Gonzalez, the incumbent appointed by Gov. Jim Gibbons, has achieved a modest 60 percent retention rating, though he does rate well on integrity, courtesy and lack of bias. But challenger John Eccles, a pro-tem hearing master, is the better choice.
For Family Court Department S, Vince Ochoa, with 30 years experience, believes child welfare bureaucrats “have gone way overboard in taking kids out of the house” and has some good ideas on how the courts can help reform teen prostitutes. Vince Ochoa is a strong choice over Rebecca Wallace.
For Family Court Department T, Gayle Nathan, a former teacher of autistic children, has taken 1,000 cases to trial, and has experience on the bench as an alternate. Her plan to create a free online video to help those without attorneys advance their cases more briskly makes her a better choice than Carl Piazza.
In Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Department 3, 17-year incumbent Tony Abbatangelo, infamous for “friends and family day,” has experience and a modest 71 percent retention rating. He also has a domestic violence conviction serious enough that his fellow judges have decided he can’t sit on any domestic violence cases.
Voters have little choice but to cross their fingers and choose challenger Janiece Marshall, a construction defect lawyer with little experience in criminal law.
In the race for Justice of the Peace Department 6, a challenger who struggled to pass the bar exam prissily accuses highly experienced prosecutor Bill Kephart of having once faced a “prosecutorial misconduct” charge. His offense? In addressing the jury, he once stated a suspect had been caught after a “manhunt.” Well, it wasn’t a possum hunt. Bill Kephart is the clear choice over Kristine Kuzemka.
In Justice Court Department 7, eight-year incumbent Karen Bennett has earned a troubling 58 percent retention rating — the lowest in the field. She’s often cited for not meting out justice equally to all parties. Police-endorsed 18-year attorney Robert Kurth is the better choice.
There are two qualified candidates for Justice of the Peace in Department 13. But the energy and demeanor of Suzan Baucum, who recently retired as director of the Nevada Law Foundation and now hears between 50 and 75 court cases per day as a judge pro tem in three different municipal and justice courts, make her a better choice than James Gubler.
In the race for Justice of the Peace in Department 14, both candidates are well-qualified. But Deputy District Attorney Bernie Zadrowski has been practicing law in Justice Court for 13 years. He vows to “revamp the whole system” that allows defendants who can clearly afford an attorney to receive legal aid at taxpayer expense, and he calls random DUI checkpoints “a slaughter of the people’s privacy rights.” Bernie Zadrowski is the better choice over capable Assistant Attorney General Conrad Hafen.