Legal Ethics

Previously suspended after fraud indictment, judge gets 3 months without pay in separate ethics case

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A Las Vegas family court judge has been suspended without pay for three months and publicly censured for violating legal ethics rules in conjunction with a romantic relationship he had with a prosecutor who appeared in his courtroom.

Although not all of the ethics counts against Judge Steven Jones were sustained, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline held last year that he had created an appearance of impropriety and may have damaged public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary by failing to recuse himself from hearing the prosecutor’s cases and trying to help her avoid reassignment and other consequences, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Special prosecutors had asked the commission to remove Jones from the bench, but it cited his “otherwise exemplary work as a judge” for more than 20 years and lack of any prior disciplinary record in opting for the lighter sanction, the newspaper says.

Jones recently announced that he would not run for re-election to his $200,000-a-year judicial job. He was suspended from the bench in late 2012, with pay, after being federally indicted in an investment fraud case. Trial in that case is scheduled in March, an Associated Press article notes.

The articles do not include any comment from Jones or his counsel. Jones’ lawyer, Jim Jimmerson, was not available for comment when the ABA Journal called his office on Tuesday.

See also: “Vegas Judge, 5 Others Federally Indicted re Claimed $3M Fraud Scheme” “Judge violated ethics rules in relationship with prosecutor, commission rules”

Updated at 1:52 p.m. to say Jimmerson was not available for comment.

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