The primary for Justice of the Peace in the sleepy township of Searchlight was the closest race in Clark County – just three votes separated the first- and second-place finishers.
And few races for the general election probably will be more personal. Both candidates and their families are friends, and their children went to school together.
“My wife, who is also my campaign manager, has made sure that we stayed on an even keel with them,” said Richard Hill, who was three votes short of his opponent, Dave “Batman” Thompson, in the primary.
“We’re still being very cordial, and we’re still neighbors,” Thompson said.
Both candidates have knowledge of the Justice Court’s role. Thompson is one of Searchlight’s resident police officers. Hill was a pro tem judge under longtime Searchlight Justice of the Peace Wendell Turner. Turner died last year, and Hill assumed Turner’s post for five months until the Clark County Commission appointed someone else to the job.
“I have the experience that I’ve been working the courts since 2006, never missing a day of court,” Hill said. “I’m ready to go back and sit on the bench tomorrow.”
Thompson has been a residential officer in the town for 18 years. Everybody knows him by “Batman,” a moniker he’s had since childhood, he said.
If elected, he said he wants to establish a drug court, a community mediation program and a youth offenders court. He said the programs would prevent Searchlight residents from having to travel to Las Vegas and would be self-supporting through participant fees.
He said drugs are no more of a problem in Searchlight than anyplace else, but that it’s more visible in small towns.
“People truly do care, and they want to see programs to help them,” he said. “They don’t like seeing their friends’ kids fail. They don’t like seeing their friends fail.”
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at email@example.com or 702-383-0440.2010 GENERAL ELECTION VOTER GUIDE
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE DUTIES
Justices of the peace are responsible for setting bail and handling preliminary hearings and initial arraignments for felony cases before the cases proceed to District Court. Justices also oversee misdemeanor and small-claims civil cases to their completion. Justices of the peace in Las Vegas serve six-year terms and are paid $153,449 a year. Justices in Searchlight serve six-year terms and are paid $61,380 a year. The judgeships are nonpartisan offices.
NOT PICTUREDName: Richard HillParty: NonpartisanAge: 65Occupation: Retired shift supervisor, judge pro tem
Name: Dave “Batman” ThompsonParty: NonpartisanAge: 48Occupation: Metropolitan Police Department officer