Rookie Judge Reportedly Investigated
Posted Jun 5, 2007 9:59 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A rookie Las Vegas judge who is fighting the chief judge’s effort to remove her is reportedly under investigation by a judicial conduct commission.
Anonymous sources told the Las Vegas Sun that the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline is investigating Judge Elizabeth Halverson, accused of acting abusively toward her staff and behaving improperly on the bench. Several staffers have quit since Halverson took the bench in January, including her law clerk, the newspaper says.
An affidavit from her former judicial executive assistant said Halverson made her staff have ice waiting on the bench for her and would scream if they let it melt, according to KVBC-TV in Las Vegas. The affidavit says she once threw a pencil and asked a bailiff to pick it up because “I feel like being a judge today."
Chief District Judge Kathy Hardcastle had sought to remove Halverson after she hired private bodyguards to accompany her to the courthouse. Halverson responded by filing a complaint with the state supreme court, which allowed her to return to the bench while the case is pending.
In a companion story, the Sun reports that since January attorneys in 134 instances have asked to have their cases transferred from Halverson. The number amounts to 42 percent of the total requests for transfers from all courthouse judges in that time period.
Halverson’s attorney Bill Gamage says attorneys sought transfers because of unfair stories in the media that tarnished her reputation. Some attorneys contacted by the paper said several cases were transferred to Halverson after Hardcastle removed her from criminal cases, and they feared her workload was too heavy for several complicated civil matters.
Halverson told KVBC-TV that she believes politics caused conflicts with Hardcastle.