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Attorneys rank area judges

by Sheila Gardner
Nevada Appeal News Service

Carson District Judge Todd Russell and Douglas District Judge Michael Gibbons received the highest performance scores in the first survey of judges conducted by two area bar associations.

Russell scored 4.23 and Gibbons a 4.03 out of a possible 5 on topics including knowledge and application of substantive law, ability to perceive factual and legal issues, management and control of trials and hearings and behavior free of gender bias.

Douglas District Judge Dave Gamble was ranked third with a score of 3.91.

The results were released to the judges on Friday by the Sierra Region Judicial Survey Committee which includes lawyers from Carson City and Carson Valley.

A confidential evaluation was completed for each judge by up to 31 attorneys who practice in front of each judge.

The committee sent 321 electronic surveys to lawyers who practice in front of the judges with a 10 percent return.

Thirty-one attorneys completed the confidential evaluations for each judge.

The survey was conducted online using ElectionsOnline, a Virginia-based firm.

The Sierra Region includes the First, Third and Ninth judicial districts. Public and private attorneys who practice regularly in front of the judges on a regular basis were invited to participate whether they were members of the Douglas County or First Judicial District bar associations.

Judges were rated from 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent) on 23 questions. The final question asked whether the judge should be retained.

None of the judges in the Sierra Region survey received less than a satisfactory rating and all were recommended to be retained.

According to the committee, the project was undertaken in part to provide residents a candid assessment of the performance of their state judiciary from lawyers who regularly practice before them.

The committee added that the survey is an opportunity for an anonymous critique of a judge’s performance from the attorneys who appear before them.

Judges who received fewer than 10 responses were not included in the results.

The survey was conducted in July and August.

Committee members included Paul Cotsonis and Darcy Houghton of Carson City; and Matthew Ence, Mauricio Hernandez, Nancy Jackson and Jennifer Yturbide, all of Minden.