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National

NV: How Public Defenders Rocked Las Vegas Judge Elections

[theappeal.org – 12/21/20]

Community organizing in Nevada’s Clark County helped judicial candidates “flip the bench” to challenge cash bail and mass incarceration.

When Christy Craig started working at the public defender’s office in Clark County, Nevada, in 1998, she didn’t plan to ever run for judge. “I knew that was my gig,” Craig said. “I couldn’t have been happier to be there.” Since then, Craig has represented thousands of defendants and scored landmark wins in suits against the State on issues of correctional mental health and cash bail.

But soon Craig will be leaving the public defender’s office to become a judge on the Eighth Judicial District Court, the criminal and civil court of Clark County, which includes the Las Vegas metro area.

It was a colleague who gave her the idea to seek election last January. “I was sitting in my office and I was complaining about the bench,” Craig said. Suddenly Belinda Harris, a public defender who had already announced her candidacy for a judgeship, shouted from her office: “Well, shut up and run!”

So Craig entered the race and won on Nov. 3—alongside Harris and five other public defenders.

These seven public defenders, all women, many women of color, are now set to become judges in January. Harris is heading to the North Las Vegas Justice Court; the others were elected to the Eighth Judicial District Court, despite many being significantly outraised by their opponents.

The results will alter Clark County’s political landscape, strengthening the hand of those who want to change practices that fuel mass incarceration. Several of the public defenders described their candidacies as an effort to “balance” the courts, as judgeships in Clark County have historically been dominated by former prosecutors, as is often the case nationwide.

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If it can be done in Nevada, it can be done in other states.

A TREND?

IMO, No. There are organized efforts now underway by certain political groups to support judicial nominees with backgrounds in civil rights.and other lawyer non mainstream advocate types. The groups advocating these kinds of judges have a political attitude of progressives and are publicly doing so. The death of RGB seems to have lent impetus to their efforts.

Janice is situated herself in the extreme in that aspect. And while most might think her choice of advocacy, against the tide of all tides, will not nor could not result in judgeship on a Superior Court underestimates the American people’s nostalgic hankering for constitutional dignity and discipline in our judgeships.

People and most of lame steam media claimed The Don could not be prez.

This direction of change in the legal landscape in Nevada would seem to bode well for any ongoing challenges to NV’s Adam Walsh Act, I would think.

If there is any more upcoming or ongoing challenges. Living here since this all happened is a nightmare. Constant harrassmemt from LE. Happened about 20 mins ago……it seems like it just is what it is at this point. I don’t see anyone fighting against it. Its sad

Harassment? Like what? Are you on probation or parole? If you are not, do not ever let any law enforcement criminal (LEC) speak to you or get near you. They are an obvious danger. In fact, even if I were on probation or parole, I’d get some clear limitations established. I doubt it is acceptable that they can just come by your home and expect to be able to speak to you. Your probation or parole officer? Yes. Random LECs? Surely not. Right?

It is enough that People Forced to Register (PFRs) have to jump through idiotic hoops for criminal regimes, don’t let them add additional harassment. There must be a clear, constant message that LECs are not going to be interacting with PFRs. They’ll have to harass others.

@Feeling sad: hey, I tried reaching out to you a number of months back (April, I think), dunno if the email got through or not. Maybe it went to your spam or trash folder.

My advice to you would be to never answer questions from LEOs unless you’re on paper or you’re updating with them, and even then, stick to only what is asked for specifically on the forms, nothing more. “I have nothing to say to you, officer” or “I don’t answer questions” should suffice. I recommend not even answering the door if they come knocking if you aren’t on supervision.

When I lived in Reno, no one ever bothered me and address verifications were done via mail, but then again, that was just before those bs changes went into effect.

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