Wednesday, Sept. 10, 1997 | 9:11 a.m.
CARSON CITY -- Clark County Family Court Judge Terrance Marren has been issued a public reprimand and fined $1,000 by the state Commission on Judicial Discipline for taking too long to decide three divorce cases.
Marren and his lawyer, Steven Wolfson, declined immediate comment. They said they had not received the decision that was released Tuesday.
The commission, which heard the case July 11 in Las Vegas, ruled that Marren had delayed decisions "for unreasonable periods of time."
One case was submitted to Marren Aug. 19, 1994, and was not decided until Feb. 28, 1995. Another case was submitted March 29, 1995, but not decided until Jan. 8, 1996. Marren had the third case on July 1, 1994, but did not render a decision until Feb. 20, 1996.
"Your conduct caused unnecessary harm to the litigants in the cases ... diminished public confidence in the judiciary and is unacceptable for a person who holds judicial office," the commission said.
The $1,000 fine will go to the law library in Clark County.
Commission Chairman Frank Brusa of Las Vegas said in a letter to Marren he hoped the judge would not repeat the behavior in the future.
Vincent Lombardo, one of those who complained to the discipline commission about the long delays, said, "I think it's an outrage he could walk away from this with a $1,000 fine and a reprimand."
"We waited almost a year for his ruling," Lombardo said, adding that he was forced to spend $50,000 in legal fees because of the extended hearings conducted by Marren. He said Marren would start the hearings late and then take extended breaks.
"One thousand dollars means nothing to a wealthy man like Marren but for a poor working man like me, it meant I went broke and I had to start my life all over again," Lombardo said.
His case is on appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court and Lombardo complains that there hasn't been a decision since January of this year on whether it will go forward.
"It's amazing these judges have blanket total immunity and you can't sue them," said Lombardo, a longtime casino employee. "They know they don't have to be held accountable.
"The whole Family Court system should be abolished. It used to be you could come to Las Vegas for a quickie divorce but now it's gone to the other extreme."
Sharon Heyborne, another person who complained about the delays by Marren, could not be reached for comment.
District Judge Mike Griffin of Carson City, a member of the discipline commission, agreed with the finding against Marren but opposed the fine.