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Ralston Reports

Our first judicial race evaluations are live

Lady Justice perched atop the Nevada Supreme Court building in Las Vegas as seen on Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

We have updated our judicial race section with analysis on three races — the first of dozens that will go live this week — for the contests for Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Eighth Judicial District Court Dept. 19

Before you vote, I strongly encourage you to read the summaries of findings of our Boyd Law School research team and our excellent legal panel (view all their biographies and photos here).

For those who may have missed it, we unveiled in May the first iteration of what we believe is the most comprehensive look at judicial candidates in state history. For many years, I, along with most voters, have been frustrated by the lack of information provided about judges and candidates for the bench. Even if you believe, as I do, that judges should not run for office, this is the universe we live in, and we at The Indy want to make that universe better.

So, as I have written, we sent detailed questionnaires to all of the judicial candidates on the ballot. The questions were assembled by a team of some of the best lawyers in Clark County, from former Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley to veteran Don Campbell (who also happens to be my lawyer) to former Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry to public defender David Westbrook and many others.

We were gratified by the 60 percent return rate by judges and candidates — and by the appreciation almost all of them showed for what we are doing. A few dozen did not return the questionnaires. That fact is and will be indicated in our race write-ups. 

We only have one goal here: To give voters the information they need to make good decisions at the polls. The Indy does not endorse candidates, and we will not assign ratings.

Finally, for a small news team, there are limitations on any project such as this one. One of them is that we couldn’t evaluate every judicial race in the state — but that is our ultimate goal. This is new ground being tilled, and we will strive year after year to produce better crops.

Finally, I want you to know that this project would not have been possible not only without the help of the volunteer lawyers and law students who saw the need for what we are doing — and a few Indyites who deserve special mention.

Our chief technical officer, CJ Keeney, worked long hours to get the section ready and update it with what you see today; I have never been more grateful to have him on board.

He was assisted by the consistently superb design skills of Peter Vogt and our all-around jill-of-all-trades Stasy Shipman, who helped do what she does every day: Check our work, proofread every word and make suggestions for improvements.

And the entire package was, as usual, overseen by my indispensable No. 2, Elizabeth Thompson, who kept everyone, including a wayward editor, on track.

Thank you to all of them.

As always, we want feedback from our readers, especially ones with unique knowledge of judges or candidates. What is missing from our write-ups? What did a candidate say on a questionnaire that isn’t true? What red flags do you see?

We want your help, need your help. If you see anything, please let me know. I’m at [email protected]

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