4 Mack cases given to Fallon judge
November 15, 2006
FALLON – District Court Judge David Huff said Wednesday he does not think his appointment to preside over four high-profile civil cases in Reno will impact court duties in Fallon or Lyon County.
Huff was appointed by Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Bob Rose to handle four of seven cases involving Darren Mack, a Reno businessman accused in the stabbing death of his wife and the sniper-style shooting of a Reno judge who was handling the couple’s divorce.
The four cases Huff will hear include the probate of the Darren and Debra Mack Family Trust, the estate of Charla Marie Mack, who was Darren Mack’s wife, Palace Jewelry & Loan Co. vs. Charla Mack and the divorce case of Darren and Charla Mack. The divorce case has been sealed by court order.
Mack is accused of killing his wife June 12 and shooting Reno Family Court Judge Chuck Weller the same day.
Because the case involves a Reno judge, Senior Judge J. Charles Thompson of Las Vegas ruled none of the judges in Washoe County should handle the Mack cases to avoid any perception of bias. The criminal case filed against Mack is also being handled by a judge outside Washoe County.
Weller was handling the acrimonious Mack divorce when he was shot.
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Huff will hear the four civil cases in Reno. He said no date has yet been set and he has requested the court files to review but hadn’t received them yet.
“It’ll be fine,” Huff said about taking on the extra work. “I don’t anticipate it’s going to be all that much time.”
He said judges are routinely asked to handle cases in other counties if a conflict exists for the presiding judge in that district.
“I don’t think it’s going to adversely affect my schedule here,” the judge said about his work for the Third District, which covers Churchill and Lyon counties.
Judge Robert E. Estes said Huff’s cases will be handled by him and newly elected judge Leon Aberasturi if the Mack cases go into next year. Aberasturi, who was elected by voters in both counties last week, will be sworn in Jan. 1. He must take courses at the National Judicial College in Reno as a new judge.
“Me and Leon are going to have to pick up the slack,” Estes said. “We’ll just do what we have to do and work harder. Traditionally, the Third Judicial District works well together so we’ll do whatever’s necessary.”
The Supreme Court appointed John Iroz of the Sixth District to handle three other Mack cases – the guardianship of the Mack’s 8-year-old daughter, a sealed juvenile case and a civil case against Darren Mack filed by Annie Allison, Weller’s secretary, who was hurt by shrapnel when Weller was shot.
The Sixth District covers Humboldt, Pershing and Lander counties.
Bill Gang, public information officer for the Nevada Supreme Court, said both appointed judges will set court schedules for all seven cases.
“They set the calendar as if the case originated in their court,” Gang said.
• Contact reporter Marlene Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org.