District judge in Douglas County announces intention to seek re-election | NevadaAppeal.com

District judge in Douglas County announces intention to seek re-election

by Sheila Gardner
Nevada Appeal News Service

MINDEN – District Judge Dave Gamble said he intends to file for re-election in January.

“I hope people will see fit to let me do this some more,” said Gamble, first elected in 1986. “I still very much enjoy the work and want to keep trying to reflect the views of the people in Douglas County as best I can.”

Gamble, 56, said there were several projects he hopes to see to completion through another six-year term.

That includes China Spring Youth Camp and the girls’ facility, Aurora Pines, drug court and mental health court for adults.

“We’re trying to extend the adult drug court into the juvenile area in a more formal way,” Gamble said.

He is working with the Legislature on funding for China Spring and Aurora Pines, which serve as detention facilities for youthful offenders.

“Right now, we go to the Legislature each session to convince them of the effectiveness of the programs. Last session, we tried to get a bill passed to put a funding method firmly in the statute, but we were unsuccessful. We’ve got that going again for next session,” he said.

Based on the success of drug court, Gamble said judges are trying to create an adult mental health court in Douglas County.

“Adults who are referred to mental health court now have to go to Reno or Carson City. Frequently, that is impossible with transportation problems inherent for people with mental health issues,” Gamble said.

He said the transfer of the court system from “being a courthouse where everything was typed on typewriters to electronic filing will be state-of-the-art over the next few years.”

“It’s like moving from a Boeing 707 to the space shuttle,” Gamble said. “Douglas County has stayed in the forefront electronically because of the people the judges have put in place here. Our electronic system is among the best in the state because of the communicability between county and state departments.”

Gamble said he wants to make sure that with electronic filing, the court will remain accessible to the people it serves.

“One thing that has not changed – and is very important – is that we are still a very, very personal court system,” he said.

“We have this luxury because of our small population. We can really give close attention to individuals and their issues as opposed to becoming some kind of conveyor belt for justice,” Gamble said.

The judge said in his 21 years in Department I, he’s learned a lot about himself.

“We’re all capable of doing bad things and we’re all capable of redemption,” he said. “There’s a segment of our society I’ve learned about that I didn’t know about before.

“I’ve learned what really works for kids through my work in custody cases and the juvenile court system. I hope what I’ve done is create a generation of kids who when they get married are able to stay married rather than not. If I had my kids to raise at this age, I’ve now learned what people do right and wrong, and I would do things differently,” he said.

Gamble said he’s come to view the death penalty as ineffective.

“I intend to try to be involved in fixing that problem. If we’re going to have it, it ought to work right. We ought to make it quicker and more effective in preventing injustice,” he said.

Gamble reflected on the publicity he received several years ago as “the spanking judge” when he allowed a mother to spank her son in juvenile court.

“Ten years later, a young man comes in full military uniform, he had graduated and was his platoon leader. He had his beret pulled down over one eye and was standing ramrod straight. It was awesome. He said his mom spanking him that day – and me empowering her to be his mom – was part of what contributed to his success,” Gamble said.

The judge said he is visited frequently by young adults who came through is court as juvenile offenders or in custody cases.

“They’re thanking me for what I did,” Gamble said. “I get so tired reading about all the negatives. We have a wonderful generation of young kids coming up. That’s what gives me hope. After 21 years, I still love coming to work every day.”

Nevada’s district judges receive a base salary of $130,000 until the first Monday in January 2009 when the base climbs to $160,000.