Judge who ordered handcuffing of public defender is banned from the bench

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A Las Vegas judge who ordered the handcuffing of a public defender for refusing to stop talking won’t be able to serve on the Nevada bench anymore.

Former Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen already had lost a bid for re-election, and now his ouster is permanent, report the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Huffington Post and the Associated Press.

Hafen didn’t contest the allegations and agreed to the Feb. 23 decision (PDF) that banned him from the bench.

The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline cited the May 2016 handcuffing of assistant public defender Zohra Bakhtary, as well as three other incidents. In two of those instances, Hafen ordered the jailing of defendants who disrupted his courtroom. In the other, he ordered the jailing of a defendant who argued with him.

Hafen had told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he was trying to teach Bakhtary a lesson about “proper decorum” by having her handcuffed when she kept talking over him during a sentencing hearing. A court transcript indicated that Hafen told Bakhtary to “be quiet” and warned her she would be held in contempt when she kept talking.

The decision cited several ethics violations, including a violation of the requirement that judges be “patient, dignified and courteous.”

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