The race to become the judge for the newly created District Court Department 28 pits two private attorneys against each other.
Jack Howard and Ron Israel emerged from a field of three in the primary to face off in the November election.
Department 28 is one of seven new district judgeships that were designated by the Legislature to help reduce the heavy civil caseload burdening Clark County’s justice system.
Howard said his many years of experience in every level of the legal field makes him most qualified to be a District Court judge.
The California Western School of Law graduate came to Las Vegas in 1975 and has practiced in the civil, criminal and family arenas. Of late, he said he has spent most of his time handling misdemeanor criminal and family law cases.
Israel, a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law, has spent most of his career practicing civil law.
Israel said he likes his opponent, but said Howard is better suited to be a Family Court judge.
“Jack has a ton of experience in Family Court,” Israel said. “He really deserves to be a judge in Family Court. I’d vote for him for Family Court judge.”
Howard, who unsuccessfully ran for Family Court judge in 2000 and 2008, said just because Israel’s practice revolves around personal injury work it does not make him better suited to handle the wide breadth of civil issues that face judges.
“My experience as a trial lawyer will suit me equally well in civil court but not make me beholden to any particular group of lawyers, whether they be personal injury lawyers or defect lawyers,” Howard said.
Howard, who also has experience as a part-time judge, said there is no difference between the rules of evidence, and all judges still have to have a good temperament, be studious and work hard.
Howard said the courts are inundated with trivial matters. Judges need to be more decisive early in the process, get rid of the bad cases and expedite final resolutions, he said. If elected, Howard said, he will aim to have cases that come to his courtroom resolved within a year, instead of the two or three years it takes now.
Israel, a perennial judicial candidate, said he has been actively campaigning for the first time in his numerous candidacies.
Israel, who also works as a short trial judge, wants to increase courtroom efficiency if elected. One efficiency measure he supports is to call first any cases where the lawyers have agreed to submit only written arguments and avoid time-consuming oral arguments.
To increase court efficiency and stop wasting time, Israel said, he also plans on holding more in-chamber conferences.
Israel, who spent about $25,000 on the primary, declined to say how much he plans to spend on the general election.
Howard said he estimates he will spend $130,000 on the race.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at email@example.com or 702-380-1039.2010 GENERAL ELECTION VOTER GUIDE
DISTRICT JUDGE DUTIES
District judges oversee criminal and civil cases under state law. They serve six-year terms and are paid $160,000 a year. The judgeships are nonpartisan offices.