2016 Clark County Judicial Primary Voter Guide

As most of you know, the primary election for Clark County is June 14, 2016. Although it is generally easy to choose from among the candidates for the state legislature, it is often very difficult to make heads or tails of the judicial candidate. Our judicial selection system is a perfect storm of large districts and non-partisan elections, which means that we may see a large number of candidates on the ballot but have little or no information about any of them. To assist you, I have assembled some information that may be helpful as you make you Primary 2016 choices.

The information provided in the link below is up to date as of 5/31/2016, and is accurate to the best of my ability. If you become aware of inaccuracies or updates, please contact me at rebecca.gill@unlv.edu.

The 2016 Clark County Judicial Primary Voter Guide

 

Those of you who have seen my previous voter guides may notice that I have not included links to the Las Vegas Review-Journal biennial “Judging the Judges” performance evaluation survey results. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I have demonstrated the problems with these surveys in popular outlets herehere, and here, in reports here and here, and in scholarly articles here and here. My results have been discussed herehere, and here (although the reporter willfully mischaracterized my argument in this article). However, the full reports can still be a source of useful information for voters, provided that voters interpret them with caution. But the biggest reason I have not included this information here is that the “Judging the Judges” survey seems to have disappeared completely from the LVRJ servers in the last couple of months. If anyone can find them, please let me know.

 

Voter Information for 2014 Clark County Judicial Primary

Of late, there has been a barely audible clamoring for information about the judicial candidates in Clark County’s 2014 primary races. I’ve taken it upon myself to compile some information that voters may find useful in making comparisons among the candidates. These data are gathered from a number of sources, including Martindale, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Voter Guide, the websites of political groups in Clark County (especially here and here), and the data I have compiled for my own research (see my LVRJ op-ed and this plain English supplement).

Before I continue, I’d like to include a few caveats. I do not intend to suggest that

  1. all of the information presented here is (or should be) relevant to any particular voter’s decision, nor that
  2. there is no additional information that would be relevant to that decision.

I’ve included the judge’s partisan affiliation, as reported by some of the sources listed above. I have also included their Nevada Bar admission year, their educational history, and links to their responses to the prompts sent by the LVRJ for the Voter Guide. This is information that voters may or may not find helpful in making their decisions.

For incumbent (or formerly incumbent) judges, I’ve also included the overall retention percentages (i.e., the percentage of attorneys recommending the judge’s retention) from the LVRJ‘s “Judging the Judges” surveys. Of course, I have made clear in my previous work that I don’t trust these surveys to be without serious problems (for a summary see Judging the Judges’ Tilts Against Women; see also Implicit Gender Bias in Judicial Performance Evaluations and Are Judicial Performance Evaluations Fair to Women and Minorities? A Cautionary Tale from Clark County, Nevada). For a shortcut, I recommend adding about 10-12 points to the scores of female judges and about 15-18 to the scores of minority judges to counteract the effects of bias in the surveys.

I have not included links to information about additional media coverage of the candidates. Neither have I included direct links to campaign websites (where voters may be able to glean endorsements and additional resume and biographical information), but the links to the LVRJ Voter Guide pages provide this information.

 

District Court Department 2
Phung Jefferson (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada, B.S.
  • Western State University, J.D.

2001

 

Law Office of Phung H. Jefferson, Esq.

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/phung-jefferson

 

NA

Richard Scotti (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Southern California, A.B.
  • Hastings College of Law, J.D.

1988

 

Partner, Kemp, Jones & Couthard

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/richard-scotti [no answer]

 

NA

William S. “Bill” Skupa (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada Las Vegas, B. S.
  • University of California at Los Angeles, J.D.

1970

 

Law Offices of William S. Skupa

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/william-s-skupa

 

NA

 John G. Watkins (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Missouri, B.A.
  • St. Louis University, J.D.

1980

 

?

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/john-g-watkins

 

NA

 

District Court Department 22
Bruce L. Gale (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Texas at Austin, B.B.A.
  • University of San Diego, J.D.

1988

 

Bruce L. Gale, Attorney at Law

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/bruce-l-gale [no answer]

 

NA

Jacob Hafter (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • George Washington University, B.S.
  • Case Western Reserve University, J.D.

2001

 

Law Offices of Jacob Hafter & Associates

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/jacob-hafter

 

NA

Susan Johnson (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada, B.S.
  • McGeorge School of Law, J.D.

1985

 

District Judge (Incumbent)

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/susan-johnson [no answer]

 

2008    60

2010    82

2012    78

2014    71

 

District Court Department 24
Anthony Ashby (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada, B.A.
  • Whittier College School of Law, J.D.

1993

 

?

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/anthony-ashby

 

NA

Jim Crockett (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • Loyola University, B.A.
  • McGeorge School of Law, J.D.

1974

 

Senior Partner, Law Office of Crockett & Myers

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/jim-crockett

 

NA

Joe Hardy, Jr. (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • Brigham Young University, B.A.
  • Brigham Young University, J.D.

2000

 

Co-Managing Partner, Gordon & Rees

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/joe-hardy-0

 

NA

Tony Liker (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • ?
  • University of Oregon, J.D.

1992

 

Law Office of Tony Liker

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/tony-liker [no answer]

 

NA

District Court Department 28
Susan Bush (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada Las Vegas, B.A.
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas, J.D.

2002

 

Founding Partner, Bush & Levy

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/susan-bush

 

NA

Ron Israel (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of California, B.A.
  • University of San Diego, J.D.

1980

 

District Judge (Incumbent)

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/ron-israel [no answer]

 

2012        59

2014        61

Robert Pool (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada, B.A.
  • University of San Diego, J.D.

1992

 

Robert B. Pool

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/robert-pool [no answer]

 

NA

 

 

 

 

District Court, Family Division, Department B
Ellen J. Bezian (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • ?
  • Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D.

1997

 

Law Office of Ellen J. Bezian

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/ellen-j-bezian [no answer]

 

NA

Kristine Brewer (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • ?
  • Thomas Jefferson School of Law, J.D.

2004

 

Brewer Blau Law Group

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/kristine-brewer [no answer]

 

NA

Jane D. Femiano (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Maryland, B.S.
  • University of Maryland, J.D.

1989

 

Clark County Family Court (hearing master)

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/jane-d-femiano

 

NA

Thomas G. “Tom” Kurtz (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • Rochester Institute of Technology, B.S.
  • State University of New York at Binghamton, J.D.

1983

 

Clark County Family Court (hearing master)

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/thomas-g-kurtz

 

NA

Linda Marquis (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Middle Tennessee, B.S.
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas, J.D.

2003

 

Associate, William B. Terry, Justice of the Peace Pro Tem

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/linda-marquis

 

NA

Joseph A. Scalia, II (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Maryland, B.A.
  • University of Baltimore, J.D.

1992

 

Law Office of Joseph A. Scalia

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/joseph-scalia

 

NA

Shann D. Winesett (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada, B.A.
  • Loyola Law School, J.D.

1993

 

Pecos Law Group

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/shann-d-winesett [no answer]

 

NA

Heather Bailey Zana (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • Arizona State University, B.A.
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas, J.D.

2003

 

?

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/heather-bailey-zana [no answer]

 

NA

 

 

District Court, Family Division, Department C
Rebecca Burton (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Wisconsin-River Falls, B.F.A.
  • University of California, Hastings, J.D.

1992

 

RL Burton Law

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/rebecca-burton

 

NA

John Hall “Jack” Howard, Jr. (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • Occidental College, B.A.
  • California Western School of Law, J.D.

1974

 

John H. Howard Jr.

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/john-hall-howard

 

NA

Lynn Hughes (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada, B.A.
  • Indiana University School of Law, J.D.

1997

 

Hughes Law Office

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/lynn-hughes

 

NA

Marsha Kimble-Simms (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Michigan, B.A.
  • University of Detroit Mercy, J.D.

1991

 

Simms Law Firm

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/marsha-kimble-simms [no answer]

 

NA

Michele “Shell” Mercer (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Texas at Austin, B.S.
  • St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, J.D.

1998

 

Law Office of Shell Mercer

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/michele-mercer [no answer]

 

NA

District Court, Family Division, Department J
Rena G. Hughes (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • East Central Oklahoma State University, B.S.
  • University of Oklahoma, J.D.

1988

 

The Dickerson Law Group

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/rena-g-hughes [no answer]

 

NA

Romeo R. Perez (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Texas at Austin, B.A.
  • Texas Southern University, J.D.

1998

 

Law Office of Romeo R. Perez

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/romeo-r-perez

 

NA

Kenneth E. Pollock (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of California, B.A.
  • University of San Diego, J.D.

1991

 

Family Court Judge (Incumbent)

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/kenneth-e-pollock

 

2010    47

2012    46

2014    40

District Court, Family Division, Department L
Jennifer L. Elliott (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  •  ?
  • McGeorge School of Law, J.D.

1986

 

Family Court Judge (Incumbent)

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/jennifer-l-elliott

 

2004    71

2006    74

2008    73

2010    70

2012    59

2014    61

Paul “Mitch” Gaudet (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • Southeastern Louisiana College, B.S.
  • Louisiana State University, J.D.

1992

 

?

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/paul-gaudet

 

NA

Mary Perry (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Nevada, B.A.
  • University of Nevada Las Vegas, J.D.

2001

 

Law Office of Mary D. Perry

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/mary-perry

 

NA

District Court, Family Division, Department P
David R. Ford (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • San Diego State University, B.S.
  • California Western School of Law, J.D.

1981

 

David R. Ford, Attorney at Law

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/david-r-ford

 

NA

Nathan Gibbs (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • Brigham Young University, B.S.
  • Brigham Young University, J.D.

1996

 

R. Nathan Gibbs, Ltd.

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/nathan-gibbs

 

NA

Sandra L. Pomrenze (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of Illinois, B.A.
  • John Marshall Law School, J.D.

1977

 

Family Court Judge (Incumbent)

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/sandra-l-pomrenze

 

2006    63

2008    62

2010    56

2012    54

2014    47

District Court, Family Division, Department T
Lisa M. Brown (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • St. Joseph’s University, B.A.
  • Villanova University, J.D.

1989

 

Lisa M. Kent, P.C.

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/lisa-m-brown [no answer to questions]

 

2002              64

2004              44

2006              29

2008              36

Maria Maskall (R) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • University of British Columbia, B.A.
  • California Western School of Law, J.D.

1991

 

?

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/maria-maskall

 

NA

Gayle Nathan (D) Education:Admitted to NV Bar:

 

Current Position:

 

LVRJ Guide Answers:

 

Judging the Judges:

  • State University of New York at Binghamton, B.A.
  • Touro Las Center, J.D.

1988

 

Family Court Judge (Incumbent)

 

http://www.reviewjournal.com/voting-guide/candidates/gayle-nathan

 

2012            59

2014            48

If you notice an error or omission, please post in the comments (along with your source) and I’ll revise as needed.

My best to you, dear voters!

Judging the Judges 2013

A Preliminary Analysis

 

by Rebecca D. Gill

 

Several stories have been written in the last month about the 2013 Las Vegas Review-Journal Judging the Judges survey. The overall results can be found here, and a short summaries have been written by Carri Geer Thevenot and Jane Ann Morrison. My own piece calls attention to the gender gap in these survey scores, which continues a troubling pattern with Judicial Performance Evaluations across the country.

Below, I provide a supplement to my piece in the LVRJ. Table 1 provides some summary information about the results of the survey. While much of the information is derived from the Judging the Judges survey results, I have supplemented these data with additional publicly-available information about the judges.

 

Table 1

 

Table 1
Descriptive Statistics for 2013 Judging the Judges Survey

 

This table presents a breakdown of the judges by a number of different criteria. For each subgrouping, I’ve provided the average “retention score” for the group. This retention score is simply the percentage of attorneys who recommend retention of the judge. The table shows that the vast majority–76%–of our county’s judges are white. However, there is near gender parity on the bench; 53% of judges are male, and 47% are female. The last column, however, shows the gender gap in retention scores. This gap is statistically significant (t=2.77, df=86, p>.003).

I’ve included a number of other measures here, too. The presence of a gender gap is not enough to implicate gender bias in the surveys. Instead, we need to hold constant whatever additional measures related to judicial quality we can obtain. I’ve done this in a multivariate model, the results of which are found in Table 2.

 

Table 2

 

Table 2
OLS Regression predicting retention scores in 2013 Judging the Judges survey

Table 2 shows that the gender gap remains even after we control for the judge’s experience, the prestige of her law school education, and other variables related to judicial quality. This is in keeping with my previous research, as Professor Sylvia Lazos detailed here. In 2014, Clark County’s female judges scored about points lower than did their similarly-situated male counterparts. This finding is robust to a number of different model specifications, and has held consistently in Judging the Judges surveys since at least 1998.

I’ve also added the 2013 data to the information from the past. The results of this analysis can be found in Table 3.

 

Table 3
Table 3
OLS Regression with Panel Corrected Standard Errors predicting retention scores from Judging the Judges surveys 1998-2014

 

Here, we can see that the gender gap across this time period is about 11 points. Newspaper scandals bring scores down significantly, but the remainder of the predictor variables are insignificant predictors of retention scores. This model also highlights a race gap, which is more difficult to capture statistically due to the limited number of non-white judges on the bench in Clark County.