David Humke, a former state Assemblyman and Washoe County commissioner, is in hot water over allegations he failed to do his job as a family court judge in Reno.
The state Commission of Judicial Discipline on Monday set Oct. 1 for a four-day hearing for Humke to answer charges he “abused his judicial authority,” failed to process child support cases, was absent from his office at times from 2015 to 2017, didn’t cooperate with his fellow judges and didn’t supervise his staff.
The complaint filed by Commission Prosecutor Kathleen Paustian said Humke’s office failed to answer the telephone and didn’t return telephone messages. Other judges had to pick up his slack when he failed to perform his duties, said the complaint.
Humke, elected in 2014 as a family court district judge, denies he violated the Canons of Judicial Conduct and said the complaint fails to cite specifics in its allegations. He says the “mitigating circumstances” show he has no prior disciplinary record. He says he has a good reputation; has taken rehabilitation instruction and is cooperating with fellow judges.
The complaint says Humke “failed to process large volumes of child support cases,” there was no one in the office to answer calls of litigants and their calls were never returned.
It says Humke hired Michael Wright as his judicial assistant despite the objections of Chief Judge David Hardy. Wright had been reprimanded by the State Bar for carrying a gun into a court hearing on a temporary restraining order in which he was a party.
Wright, according to the complaint, failed to process 172 child support cases. When notified, Humke processed 62 cases during a three-month period in 2016 while other judges each handled 700 cases. Humke is accused of not taking action when Wright “blew a kiss” at a fellow female employee and the family court judge didn’t file quarterly reports and do evaluations of his employees.
When he was on-call during off-court hours, he failed to answer the phone. And that duty fell to other judges, says the complaint.
Wright was fired by the late District Judge Patrick Flanagan due to the rising number of complaints about him.
Humke, according to the complaint, never took disciplinary action against Wright. It says Humke admitted “some mistakes” during the investigation.
The hearing will be held in Reno.