VIPI has 2, followers on Facebook, and its videos are routinely shared hundreds of times. I think that he feels strongly that that is his place in the world, to fight corruption. Is she worried he might be exploiting her to further his own agenda? Exploit away. Because I need all the attention on this that I can get.
I would be happy if it was profiting him in some way. I could give something back.
Even sitting in a chair on the floor before his bench, Bryce Duckworth fills his courtroom with a reassuring authority. Those issues weigh heavily, not just on the litigants, but also on the adjudicator. Those are the decisions that weigh on your mind after hours. Such an attitude has earned Duckworth respect among his peers.
Duckworth is no fan of VIPI. That became clear two years ago when Steve Sanson was observing hearings in a divorce and custody case before Duckworth. Marshal Willick was representing the plaintiff, and Sanson who, by then, already had bad blood with Willick over the Abrams video felt the judge was being unnecessarily generous with the attorney. So, Sanson called the judge to complain about it. This is an attack on our system of justice in which an individual seeks to remove the symbolic blindfold of lady justice. This matter should be investigated.
Sanson responded by asking the judicial discipline commission to investigate Duckworth for misconduct.
The commission found there were no grounds to do so. But family lawyers bristle at this characterization. Since state legislation established the family division in , one-third of all 65 formal disciplinary actions have been against Clark County family court judges. Three have been removed from the bench: Fran Fine, in , for having ex-parte communications and hiring a cousin as a case mediator; Nicholas Del Vecchio in for multiple cases of sexual misconduct and harassment; and Steven Jones, in , because of his conviction in a federal fraud case he was suspended with pay in , banned for life in Most recently, Judge William Potter was disciplined for berating and handcuffing attorney Michancy Cramer, who he felt was being difficult during a court discussion of document production, and then sentenced her to three days in jail for contempt of court.
During his disciplinary hearing, Potter described his own behavior as cringeworthy. The state Supreme Court reports that, between and , appeals from family and juvenile cases accounted for percent of the statewide total. Representative Dina Titus, who was a state senator at the time. The vision of a family court was realized, but the dream of it being run by judges who specialize in family and child issues was not.
Duckworth has practiced family law for his entire legal career, but that was his choice, not a requirement for his current position. The judicial selection process in general may be the biggest problem with family court in particular. In Nevada, judges are elected. On the contrary. The Times detailed several cases where attorneys with financial ties to judges appeared before them in active litigation. Sanson has also claimed that attorneys who oppose him use the threat of withholding campaign donations as a means of persuading judges to shun VIPI.
I did not enjoy that aspect of it at all. Figler and many others before him have proposed alternatives to judicial elections, involving various combinations of who gets to pick and how they do it. An elected official could choose appointees from a vetted selection, as the governor does now for vacancies, and then voters could decide whether to keep or eject the appointees in the next election cycle. Or, a committee could regularly assess appointees to approve them for continued service. In any case, voters would have to approve a change in the process.
And so far, voters have rejected every proposal to get rid of judicial elections. My preference is that, ultimately, the decision be made by informed individuals. I mean, I was guilty of it, too, before I went to family court.
Family Law (Divorce, Custody, Etc.)
But these judges, they can affect your life. Responses to the 3, surveys were due at the end of August, and the results will be available to voters before the next election. But all those resources have been available for many years. Will people use them in , when all the family court judges will be on the ballot?
One of the latter is Marshal Willick, due, in part, to his deep ties to the system. His sense of ownership fuels a drive to keep making it better. Nevertheless, the family court bureaucracy has undergone some positive change, a fair amount of it focused on people who represent themselves. McDonald, her staff attorney, and 10 legal information facilitators assisted 49, customers in , compared to 37, five years ago.
Some are in and out in half an hour; others will spend all day, waiting, getting advice, filling out forms, and filing paperwork. The center is open to everyone, and all forms and services are free. We have a lot of happy customers. We get to play the role where we are helping them in small bite-sized pieces to understand the system. They got their day in court. Nearly , people used it last year. As far as getting a lawyer is concerned, Legal Aid gives priority for its pro bono family law services to income-qualified applicants who are victims of domestic violence.
But the nonprofit center offers free community legal education classes covering paternity, custody, and guardianship, as well as a litigation trial preparation class. It also hosts free lawyer consultations for pro se litigants through the Ask-A-Lawyer program at the Family Division courthouse. It gets fully booked every single week.
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