Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2004 | 3:26 a.m.
Six attorneys from various backgrounds are vying for the District Court Department 11 seat vacated by Michael Douglas, who in May became a Supreme Court justice.
Elizabeth "Betsy" Gonzalez, appointed by Gov. Kenny Guinn in July to succeed Douglas, is one of the candidates. Her challengers are former Assistant District Attorney Mike Davidson, private attorney Bruce Gale, former contract attorney for the Clark County public defender's office Matthew Paul Harter, private attorney Robert Kurth and past Nevada Trial Lawyers Association President Tim Williams.
The top two vote-getters move on to the general election for the four-year post that pays $130,000 a year.
Davidson and Williams were the other two finalists to replace Douglas. Williams, Gale and Harter also were applicants for the District Court Department 1 seat won by Ken Cory to replace Gene Porter, who resigned in October.
Gonzalez, 43, who received her law degree from the University of Florida, focused on real estate and personal injury defense during 18 years in private practice. She received the State Bar of Nevada's Access to Justice Committee's Attorney of the Year Award in 2003.
Davidson, 50, who got his law degree from the University of Arizona, has served as an assistant district attorney supervising 130 prosecutors, was a Supreme Court settlement judge, a Juvenile Court hearing master, a small-claims hearing master and has 25 years experience in criminal and civil jury trials.
Gale, 49, who earned his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, has been a solo practitioner since 2001, dealing primarily in business and real-estate litigation, personal injury, family law and criminal defense.
Harter, 38, a Bonanza High School graduate who got his law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School, has since 1995 been a solo practitioner concentrating on family law, personal injury and criminal law. In his contracted role with the public defender's office, he handled mental-commitment court matters and parole-revocation hearings. Harter currently is a District Court arbitrator.
Kurth, 36, a lifelong Las Vegas resident who earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a law degree from the Denver College of Law, is a solo practitioner. His general practice includes administrative and criminal law, bankruptcy, business law, civil litigation, family law and construction law.
Williams, 48, earned his law degree from Ohio Northern University. He has 20 years of experience in civil litigation and has served on the District Court Arbitration Panel, as a district judge pro tempore and as a private arbitrator and mediator, overseeing more than 700 cases that have been resolved before going to trial.