Legal Ethics

Nev. Judge to Appeal Suspension

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The lawyer for controversial Las Vegas Judge Elizabeth Halverson promises an appeal of her interim suspension.

William Gamage did not offer comment on the details of his client’s case, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. The suspension will remain in effect pending a decision on whether to formally charge the judge with ethics violations, according to a separate Review-Journal story.

“The proceedings are still confidential,” Gamage said, “and because of that we cannot really comment on some of the remaining aspects of the case.”

In a final order of interim suspension (PDF) filed Wednesday, the state Commission on Judicial Discipline said Halverson “poses a substantial threat of serious harm” to the public and the administration of justice. (See this post for details.)

The court cited Halverson’s inexperience and poor judgment as reasons for the suspension with pay. Halverson makes $130,000 a year.

An ABA Journal story by Terry Carter details the controversies. Among them are complaints that Halverson treated staffers like servants and taunted lawyers who did not contribute to her campaign.

Craig Walton, president of the Nevada Center for Public Ethics, said the incident highlights the need for changes to the state’s judicial conduct code, the Las Vegas Sun reports. He said the ABA’s new model code (PDF) deals with the way judges treat staffers and others in the courthouse.

“It’s very important that a judge come across to everyone in the room and in the community as someone of integrity,” he said.

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