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Justice Court

There are three contested races in local justice courts, the first contact most potential defendants have with the system.

In addition to handling small claims cases and misdemeanors, justices of the peace -- who are paid $158,000 a year -- are responsible for conducting initial arraignments and preliminary hearings before felony cases move along to District Court.

In North Las Vegas, 35-year-old Jonathan MacArthur is competing against 33-year-old Chris Lee for the newly created Department 3 seat.

Mr. MacArthur has been a substitute judge in Las Vegas Municipal Court and North Las Vegas Justice Court. He is a Clark High School graduate and former public defender who says he can make tough decisions and will protect the rights of those who appear before him.

Mr. Lee is a deputy secretary of state who deals with white-collar crime. A Bishop Gorman High School graduate, he spent seven years as a prosecutor in Clark County, where he was the lead attorney on several jury trials. He vows to treat people with fairness yet be "firm in that fairness."

Both young men have bright futures. But Mr. Lee's temperament, judgment and experience with both civil and criminal matters tip the scales. We urge a vote for Chris Lee.

In Henderson, David Gibson -- brother of the city's mayor -- faces Sandy Allred DiGiacomo for the new Department 3 seat.

Ms. DiGiacomo, 39, has been a Clark County prosecutor for nine years and currently handles cases involving repeat offenders. Mr. Gibson, 57, spent 25 years as a public defender before becoming a Family Court hearing master three years ago.

Both candidates have the integrity and background to do a good job, but Mr. Gibson's judicial experience and community ties give him the edge. Vote for David Gibson for Henderson justice of the peace.

In Las Vegas Justice Court, Diana Sullivan, 41, and Steve Smith emerged from the primary to compete for the newly created Department 12 post.

Mr. Smith is a former OSHA prosecutor now in private practice. He has served as an arbitrator and substitute justice of the peace and, if elected, says he will be "efficient and fair."

Ms. Sullivan spent 13 years as an attorney with Jones Vargas in Las Vegas before opening her own practice, which specializes in civil litigation. She has been a small claims court referee and a substitute justice of peace and says she "loves this community" and wants "to improve it."

While Mr. Smith has a more varied legal background, Ms. Sullivan is energetic, knowledgeable and well-respected in the legal community. Diana Sullivan is the best choice.

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