Commission names three finalists to replace Griffin | NevadaAppeal.com

Commission names three finalists to replace Griffin

The Judicial Selection Commission has named three finalists, including a longtime Douglas County Justice of the Peace, to replace retiring Carson District Judge Mike Griffin.

Griffin has announced he will retire at the end of this year. He is Nevada’s longest-serving district judge with 28 years on the bench.

The finalists are JP Steven McMorris, 67, of Genoa, Carson City lawyer James Todd Russell, 59, and private practitioner Caren Jenkins, 48.

Chief Justice Robert Rose said the three were chosen from a list of eight applicants interviewed Monday.

Absent from the list are outgoing Carson District Attorney Noel Waters, who was a finalist when Mike Fondi retired from the Carson bench several years ago, and David Sarnowski, currently executive director of the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.

Also not making the cut are: Laura Grant, 55, a justice of the peace and municipal judge in West Wendover; David Neidert, 45, of Reno, a senior deputy attorney general; and James E. Wilson, 52, Carson City, in private practice as a sole practitioner.

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The names of the three finalists were sent to Gov. Kenny Guinn, who will chose Griffin’s replacement in the district that presides over Carson City and Storey County.

When Griffin, 62, leaves in January, the appointee will serve the final two years of his current term. At that point, the appointee will have to run in the 2008 election to retain the position.

The commission is composed of seven permanent members and chaired by the chief justice of the Nevada Supreme Court – at this time, Rose. It also includes two temporary members appointed from the judicial district where a vacancy occurs.

Guinn is expected to announce his appointment within a month.

There are two district judges in the Carson District Court. The other post is held by Bill Maddox.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.