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Voters can do what judicial commission didn’t

Lahontan Valley News

Fallon Justice of the Peace Dan Ward made his appearance before the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline Wednesday and received the proverbial “slap on the wrist.”

We have no personal ax to grind with Ward. We’re sure he’s a nice guy. Evidently, he’s a good buddy to have if you’re a scofflaw and show up in his courtroom. He’ll treat you right – pull a few strings, toss out a traffic ticket or whatever.

However, someone who is elected to dispense the law should not so egregiously violate it. The height of bombastic baloney is to lecture someone on the virtues of the law and sentence them to jail for their crimes while giving others preferential treatment. The law is nothing if it is not administered fairly and justly to all.

Ward admitted to a dozen ethical violations out of the 15 he was charged with. Of those he admitted to, the most serious are those which are unequivocally contrary to the law. Ward can plead ignorance to the finer points of conflict of interest, but he certainly cannot sidestep the scurrilous actions he participated in, such as fixing tickets, interfering in a sexual assault case filed against a longtime resident and using his position to meddle in a drug case involving his son.

For his self-serving actions, Ward was given a 30-day suspension without pay and ordered to take ethics classes for four years. Give credit to his attorney, Scott Freeman, for working out such a sweet deal for Ward with the judicial discipline panel. Members of the judicial commission, who had the opportunity to make a statement about the sanctity of the law, instead mealy-mouthed their way to what amounts to a minor scolding.

Dan Ward more than let us down. He thumbed his nose at all those who entered his courtroom – the district attorney, public defender, defendants – the innocent and guilty alike.

There is no atonement possible for such egregious behavior. We are convinced Dan Ward is not the man for the job of impartially dispensing justice. We hope the decent and honorable residents of Churchill County vote this November to put integrity back in the office of justice of the peace.

– Lahontan Valley News