Name: Leon Aberasturi
Address: 1710 Short Oak Ct Fernley NV 89408
Phone number and campaign Web site: 775-722-0490/ No website
Education: BA Russian Language, BA History- University of Arizona; JD University of Idaho, College of law
Profession: District Court Judge, Third Judicial District Court, Dept. 2
Political experience: Lyon County District Attorney 2001-2006 (Appointed 2001 and elected in 2002); Elected District Court Judge 2006 in special election to fill the unexpired term of retired judge.
Please write a short biography of yourself (This answer may be up to 200
words; you might include such things as birthplace, career, community
involvement, family, etc.):
I first moved to Fernley in 1994 with my wife Suzanne and three children. I served as a Lyon County Deputy District Attorney from 1994 to 1996. I advised officials on personnel, purchasing, contract and open meeting law matters. I also advised the Planning Commission. I also advised many of the special districts such as the Central Lyon County and North Lyon County fire districts. I was the sole deputy assigned to the child support office.
In 1996, I accepted a position in Lander County. I performed similar duties but was also able to gain valuable experience in prosecuting adult and juvenile criminals. I also represented the State in child neglect cases.
In 2000, I returned to the Lyon County District Attorney’s Office as a prosecutor. Six months later, the Lyon County Commissioners appointed me as the Lyon County District Attorney over my opponent. I prosecuted major felonies and was able to obtain convictions of life without the possibility of parole on the two murder cases I personally handled.
I was elected in 2002 to a four-year term. In 2006, I was elected to my current position as District Court Judge beating my current opponent and another candidate.
Why do you believe voters should select you rather than your opponent as
district court judge?
I have a record of success. The past two years show that I have the ability, temperament, and character to continue serving the people of Lyon and Churchill counties. In that time, I have ruled upon a broad array of cases ranging from water law to family law. The appeal rate is low in the Third Judicial District Court and I have not been reversed once in almost two years on the bench.
My opponent has not held elective office and has nothing new to offer the voters since he failed to get out of the primary two years ago.
What changes would you make if you were elected?
The Court needs to start longer term planning. The Lyon County Courthouse is 90+ years old. With only one usable courtroom it is difficult to schedule trials for three judges. The judges must sit down with commissioners and the county clerks to determine what the technology and facility needs will be over the next five years.
The judges also need to work with the court clerks to see that they will have the technology that they need to process the growing caseloads.
Should judges be given more discretion than allowed by current law in
imposing sentences? Why?
Mandatory sentences exist in legislation because the public determined that judges were being too lenient in sentencing certain criminals such as drug traffickers, child molesters, and murderers. Too many judges believe that the robe transforms a judge into an all knowing social scientist. I have no problem with the legislature limiting discretion.
What criteria would you use for deciding whether to impose or affirm
sentences outside of standard ranges?
Community safety comes first in Department 2. One of the most important factors I use in sentencing is a defendant’s criminal history. Past performance provides the most accurate indicator of future behavior. Second, the nature of the crime affects the equation as violent offenders present greater risks to the community. Third, the age of the defendant will indicate whether other diversion programs can be used to modify behavior.
Would the reality of prison overcrowding play a role in how you sentence
No. The Legislature needs to step up to the plate and build and fund more prisons. Diversion programs need more funding. District Court judges should not be in the business of managing prison populations. I cannot guess what sentences judges are handing out in Clark County and vice versa.
What has been your greatest accomplishment in your legal career? In your
Two years ago, the voters in Churchill and Lyon counties endorsed me with 57-58% of the vote. Gaining the public’s trust in such a manner gave me the feeling that the public has appreciated the manner in which I had served them as the Lyon County District Attorney and deputy district attorney.
The greatest personal achievement is a no brainer. Marrying my wife 19 years ago was the smartest decision I ever made. We have three great kids and have accomplished many goals together due to the support we give each other.