Las Vegas Sun

September 15, 2014

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COURTS:

Discipline on Vegas judge upheld

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its order disciplining Las Vegas Justice of the Peace George Assad.

In a 3-2 decision, the court said Judge Assad must make a formal apology to Ann Chrzanowski for telling her she would be held in custody until her boyfriend appeared in court to answer charges of unpaid traffic fines.

The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline originally censured Assad for his actions. But the Supreme Court said that was too harsh a penalty.

It ordered Assad to issue a formal apology and to enroll, at his own expense, in the next available judicial ethics course at the National Judicial College.

Assad then petitioned the Supreme Court for a rehearing arguing he could not be disciplined based on legal errors.

The rule says a judge cannot be disciplined for reaching a legal conclusion, even if it is wrong.

The court said Assad’s behavior was not a legal decision. “Judge Assad was not disciplined for any judicial decision but for telling Ann Chrzanowski that she would be held until her boyfriend Joshue Madera appeared.”

Assad issued an instruction to his marshal that the woman be held in detention until Madera arrived in court.

The majority order was written by Justice Jim Hardesty and signed by Justices Ron Parraguirre and Michael Douglas.

Chief Justice Mark Gibbons dissented, saying he would require the Judicial Discipline Commission to retry the matter and allow an expert for Assad to testify. Justice Michael Cherry agreed with Gibbons.

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