Justice delayed


The Judicial Discipline Commission seemed to overcome its reputation for foot-dragging last summer when it moved relatively quickly to suspend District Judge Elizabeth Halverson in the wake of embarrassing allegations about her professional conduct.

One year later, however, the body has gone back to its unresponsive ways, displaying a staggering lack of urgency in granting Judge Halverson a 60-day delay to prepare for the disciplinary hearing that might finally free taxpayers from paying her to do nothing.

(On May 28), the panel pushed formal proceedings from June 9 to Aug. 4 — nine days after the start of early voting for the state’s Aug. 12 primary election. The timing is significant because Judge Halverson is seeking re-election to her Department 23 seat. …

Judge Halverson had sought to delay the hearing until after November’s general election, arguing she needed the additional time because her attorneys wanted off her case — she said she couldn’t pay them.

Although the commission showed some judgment in not allowing Judge Halverson to soak taxpayers into the fall, there’s no reason she can’t plead her case this month. Judge Halverson acted as her own lawyer in filing a petition with the Nevada Supreme Court that challenged the constitutionality of the two-year term she won in 2006. … Clearly, Judge Halverson has the acumen — not to mention the time — to pull her affairs together in her disciplinary case. …

Judge Halverson’s absence from the bench has greatly complicated the business of District Court by forcing substitute jurists onto the bench at great expense to the public. Voters deserve to know whether she will be allowed to return to her duties before the first primary election ballots are cast on July 26. …

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