2020 Primary election: Nevada Justice of the Supreme Court, Seat D | NevadaAppeal.com
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2020 Primary election: Nevada Justice of the Supreme Court, Seat D

Ozzie Fumo

Occupation: Attorney, Nevada State Assemblyman, Adjunct Professor UNLV Boyd School of Law

Age: 54

Contact: Ozzie@Fumolaw.com, http://www.Ozziefumo.com, 702-683-4806

Platform:

Ensuring equal justice under the law for all Nevadans. I’ve spent over two decades practicing everything from family law to capital murder cases in our courtrooms. I believe I am uniquely qualified for the Nevada Supreme Court largely because it is so different than District Court.

To be an effective Supreme Court justice you need an understanding of three things:

The law and legal theory

The legislative intent behind the law

The practical application of law in the real world

I not only know legal theory, I currently teach law at the UNLV Boyd School of Law. I also understand legislative intent, I’ve written and passed legislation for two terms in our State Legislature, some of which that is now reflected in recent Supreme Court rulings. And, as a 24-year veteran of our trial courts, I have seen the practical impact of our laws firsthand and I know what a verdict can mean to a family and a community. I’m also incredibly proud to be endorsed by our teachers, nurses, firefighters, veterans, our court marshals who serve alongside our judges in court every day. I am prepared to be our next Supreme Court Justice.

Describe a time you learned something invaluable that will help you if elected?

I tried a case in 2008. United States of America v. Sellers et. al. 2:07-cr-00145-KLD-PAL. This was an eight-week federal jury trial. My client was charged with a RICO violation. It was deemed a complex case. I was appointed to represent one of the co-defendants. The trial occurred in 2008. The government was shut down. I was a sole practitioner, with a staff of three attorneys and four support staff. I have always paid health insurance and related benefits for my staff and their dependents. I was unable to see clients while I was preparing for trial and during the eight weeks of trial. The government paid my bill nine months after the trial ended. This case almost ruined me financially. It did not. I persevered. It taught me valuable business lessons. As a Supreme Court Justice I will have a unique perspective of the hardships of the sole practitioner. Most justices go from one government job to another. They have never paid for their employees’ health insurance. They have never paid the firm’s taxes. They have never had sleepless nights worrying about payroll. I am a small business owner. I am proud of the fact that I will come from the private bar. This case taught me valuable lessons. I have implemented the lessons I learned during this shutdown. I am proud to say I did not furlough any employees in 2008. I have not furloughed any employees in 2020, and I still pay employee health insurance. I pay for the employees and dependents. I am happy to report that my support staff from 2008 remains the same in 2020. We are a family.

Douglas W. Herndon

Occupation: Chief Judge, Homicide Case Team, Eighth Judicial District Court

Age: 55

Contact: http://www.judgeherndon.com

herndonforsupremecourt@gmail.com

Facebook: Judge Herndon

Instagram: judgeherndon

Twitter: @judgeherndon

Record of Service:

District Court Judge – Eighth Judicial District Court, Department 3 – 2005 – present

Appointed by Governor Kenny Guinn in 2005

Maintained in election in 2006, 2008 and 2014

Judicial Service:

Chief Judge, Homicide Case Team – 2017 – present

Chief Judge, Criminal Division – 2009 – 2017

Civil Criminal District Court Judge – 2005 – 2009

State Administration of Justice Commission

State Indigent Defense Commission

State Criminal Procedure Commission

State Commission on Evidence Based Pre-Trial Release

Clark County District Attorney’s Office – 1990 – 2005

Chief Deputy District Attorney – Head of Special Victim’s Unit – 1998 – 2005

Chief Deputy District Attorney – Special Victim’s Unit – 1996 – 1998

Deputy District Attorney – 1992 – 1995

Appellate Law Clerk – Nov. 1990 – 1991

Community Service:

The Rape Crisis Center – Instructor – 1998 – present

UNLV, Boyd School of Law – Trial Advocacy Judge – 2009 – present

Creator and Administrator, Grade School Mock Trial Program – 2010 – present

Shade Tree Shelter

Salvation Army

Youth Club Soccer / Club Softball Coach – 2004 – 2012

Board of Trustees – The Meadows School – 2009 – present

Platform:

When it comes to the Nevada Supreme Court, I believe that experience, maybe now more than ever, is critical. It’s an incredibly busy and complex court that oversees our state’s trial courts and handles everything from litigation surrounding rural water rights, to matters involving ballot initiatives and the constitutionality of laws enacted by our legislature. I am the only judge in the race for Seat D and I have been a District Court Judge for 15 years. I’ve handled every type of complicated civil and criminal case that our court system sees. I have been a top rated judge for 15 consecutive years and in 2019, I had the highest performance rating in our District Court. Every day, I bring to the bench a sense of humility about the job I’m blessed to do and I have a tremendous work ethic. I’ve been working since I was 12 years old and I’ve cleaned toilets, buffed floors, worked as a busboy and in construction. I appreciate what it means to give people an honest day’s work for the trust and faith they place in you and I promise to be a justice that the people can trust and be proud of.

Describe a time you learned something invaluable that will help you if elected?

I believe myself to have been very fortunate in that I have had a multitude of experiences that I would call invaluable. Things that have informed me as a person, as a son, as a husband, as a father, as an attorney and as a judge. Because this questionnaire speaks to the issues of my candidacy for the Nevada Supreme Court, I am going to refer to (a) “Letter to the Editor” that was forwarded to me in 2008. It actually came from (the Nevada Appeal) and was authored by Ann Bednarski of Carson City. She penned the letter after I had presided over the trial of Darren Mack in Washoe County. Mr. Mack had murdered his wife and attempted to kill the Family Court Judge presiding over his divorce. I was appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court to preside over the case after all judges in Washoe County were recused. The letter very much spoke to me about just how much ability I had to influence public opinion about our court system and instill confidence in it by the way I prepared myself, conducted myself, and most importantly, how I spoke and explained matters to the attorneys, the parties and the public in open court. I have never forgotten the way Ms. Bednarski expressed being moved and inspired by what I did and how I did it and I have always aspired to be that same person every day, for everyone, in every case.

Erv Nelson

Occupation: Lawyer

Age: 64

Contact: ervnelson6@gmail.com

Record of Service:

Member of Nevada Assembly, 2014-2016; served as Chair of Interim Committee on Energy, Vice Chair of Judiciary Committee, and Member of Taxation and Commerce & Labor Committees

Board Member or Officer of various non-profit corporations and committees including Sober Living, Nevada Development Authority, City of Las Vegas Parks and Recreation and Desert Chorale

Missionary, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Japan, 1975-77

Chair, Chemhuevi District, Boy Scouts of America, Boulder Dam Area Council

Platform

The Nevada Supreme Court is the court of last resort in Nevada and should dispense justice with the highest degree of integrity, fairness and impartiality to all persons regardless of their power, social standing, gender, age, religion, wealth, educational level, political party or other affiliations. The Supreme Court oversees the judicial branch of the government and should rule only on cases and issues which are properly before it. It applies the law to specific cases; it should not attempt to create new laws or enforce laws. Government, including the judicial branch including all courts, exists to preserve and protect the liberties and civil rights of its citizens, not to limit them. Government did not give liberties or civil rights to individuals, and it certainly cannot take them away. Judges should avoid even the appearance of impropriety and should recuse (disqualify) themselves from hearing any cases when their impartiality would be in doubt.

Describe a time you learned something invaluable that will help you if elected?

A number of years ago, I represented a client in a lawsuit which had resulted from a real estate transaction gone bad. After I had become familiar with the facts and studied the relevant law, I advised the client to accept a settlement offer from his opponent because the facts were disputed, the Judge or jury could rule either way and were more likely to rule for the opponent, and the offer was fair and would eliminate the costs and risks of going to trial. The client became very angry, fired me as a lawyer and hired another lawyer who took the case to trial. As I had warned my former client was a distinct possibility, he lost the case. Then, he sued me for malpractice and filed a complaint with the State Bar Association. Fortunately, I had kept a copy of a letter I had mailed to the client before he fired me which laid out in detail the reasons for my recommendation that he settle the case. After a lot of work, expense and anxiety, I prevailed in the malpractice complaints in court and before the State Bar. I learned that litigation, even if you ultimately win, is a very serious, sobering, expensive and aggravating experience which should not be taken lightly. The experience helped me acquire empathy for my clients and their opponents, underscored the importance of alternative dispute resolutions such as settlement negotiations and mediation, and reminded me that there are always at least two sides to a story.