North Las Vegas Municipal Court judicial candidate Marsha Kimble-Simms has engaged in an unfair campaign practice, according to the state’s Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics and Election Practices.
The committee ruled during an April 28 hearing that Kimble-Simms, a candidate for the court’s Department 1, made no effort to correct “false or misleading statements” on campaign literature that stated she has “judge pro tem” status.
Kimble-Simms has served as a judge pro tem in North Las Vegas Justice Court. She sat twice — her last time sitting was in 2007. A judge pro tem sits in for judges who are ill, on vacation or at a conference. A substitute judge is paid half of the hourly compensation of the judge in the court for which he or she is sitting or paid is $50 per day, whichever is greater.
According to the ruling, the phrase must be removed from publication — including signs and mailers that read “judge pro tem” — and any future campaign literature must read “former judge pro tem” or include some other qualifying statement such as “previous service as.” Kimble-Simms also is allowed to stencil the word “former” in front of the phrase on any existing signs.
“I have never given anyone the impression that I’m a sitting judge pro tem,” Kimble-Simms told View Neighborhood Newspapers. “I was a sitting judge pro tem. I’ve always used it in the historical sense, and that’s part of my experience. It’s not even relevant to the job. It’s experience I have that (candidate Catherine Ramsey) doesn’t.”
According to a Dec. 20, 2006, agenda item from a Clark County Commission meeting, Kimble-Simms was given pro tem status effective through Dec. 31, 2008, as requested by Judge Natalie Tyrrell. However, Kimble-Simms’ name does not appear in similar commission agenda item lists from 2009, 2010 and 2011. Kimble-Simms, who owns her own law firm, said she didn’t have time to substitute after that because she was handling a heavy case load.
“I just didn’t have time,” she said. “I work for myself. I’ve got to make a living. I still have the experience. I sat and trained. … I never misrepresented that to anybody.”
Ramsey, a prosecutor, said she filed the ethics complaint because she wanted voters to “be aware of who they are voting for.”
“I believe it is important for the voters not to be misle d on a candidate’s qualifications for such an honorable position in our community,” Ramsey said.
Kimble-Simms filed a complaint against Ramsey regarding her legal experience and took issue with the phrase “Catherine is the only one with firsthand knowledge and experience in the very court in which she is a candidate.” Ramsey states that she has 25 years of legal experience, the ruling read, but never “suggested or represented she had practiced law for 25 years.” Ramsey, who has been a member of the state bar since 2002, has served as a legal secretary, legal assistant and paralegal prior to practicing law, according to the ruling.
The committee ruled that neither complaint had sufficient evidence to rule that they were misleading to voters.
The office is a six-year term that pays $148,438 annually. The court handles misdemeanor cases such as traffic, petty larceny, trespassing, domestic violence and DUI. The general election is June 7.
For more information or to see a copy of the ruling, visit judicial.state.nv.us/decisionsscjeep3new.htm and click on the last link titled “11-1 Ramsey v. Kimble-Simms [Consolidated].”
Contact Downtown and North Las Vegas View reporter Kristi Jourdan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 383-0492.