Department L Family Court judge criticized for work attendance draws 2 challengers

Two challengers question the attendance record of Family Court Judge Jennifer Elliott, who seeks a third term in Department L.

“It’s an ongoing problem that’s been there for years,” said one of Elliott’s opponents, Paul “Mitch” Gaudet.

Another opponent, Mary Perry, said she has found dozens of orders from 2012 that other judges signed on Elliott’s behalf. Perry said they provide evidence that Elliott was not at work on the days the orders were signed.

The judge has acknowledged that she missed a lot of work in 2011 because of an illness, but Elliott said she has been working regularly since the latter part of that year. Elliott said she has reported Perry to the State Bar of Nevada for lying about her attendance record.

Elliott said the presence of another judge’s signature on an order in one of her cases does not necessarily mean she was absent; it could mean she was on the bench and unavailable at the time.

“We sign each other’s orders all the time,” Elliott said.

The judge said statistics prove she is an “excellent case manager.”

“I don’t know how I could be doing my work if I’m not here,” she said.

The judge, a licensed marriage and family therapist, said she has contributed to court improvement by starting or participating in several programs. For instance, she oversees the Truancy Diversion Project that uses volunteers to hold truancy court in schools across Clark County.

Elliott received her law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in California. She received her license to practice law in Nevada in 1986 and did so until 1991.

Gaudet and Perry are both running for office for the first time.

“I am running on a platform of change,” Gaudet said. “I truly believe that the way justice is being administered in Department L needs to be changed.”

Gaudet, who received his law degree from Louisiana State University, has been licensed in Nevada since 1992. He said family law has been his primary focus since the start of his career.

Perry said she is running for office because eight-plus years in the Air Force taught her: “You move up instead of moving out.”

Perry said she chose to target Elliott because the judge has made questionable decisions and missed too much work.

Perry graduated from UNLV’s Boyd Law School and was licensed in Nevada in 2001. She primarily practices family law.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at or 702-384-8710. Find her on Twitter: @CarriGeer.

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