Legal Ethics

NV High Court Mulls Halverson Suspension

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Lawyers for controversial Las Vegas Judge Elizabeth Halverson told the Nevada Supreme Court last week that the state Judicial Discipline Commission did not have the authority to order her temporary suspension.

Justices are expected to decide in the next few days whether to overturn the temporary suspension, the Associated Press reports.

At least one judge questioned the suspension for alleged bizarre behavior. “Why, as of today, have no formal charges been filed?” asked Justice Jim Hardesty during oral arguments on Thursday. “It does seem unfair.”

Commission lawyer Dorothy Nash Holmes replied that the investigation of Halverson was almost complete. “We are moving almost at lightning speed compared with other cases,” she said.

Halverson was suspended based on allegations that she harassed her staff and had inadequate legal skills. She was accused of treating staff members like servants and falling asleep on the bench. An ABA Journal story by Terry Carter details the controversies.

One justice questioned statements by Halverson’s lawyers that she was doing a fine job. “Failing to pay attention, sleeping or otherwise, does not seriously affect the administration of the justice system?” asked Justice Nancy Saitta.

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