Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008 | 2:06 a.m.
Some voters may cast a jaundiced eye at the long list of judicial races on the ballot in the wake of the ethical mess surrounding Judge Elizabeth Halverson, who was elected in 2006.
But as the Halverson case demonstrates, voters can prevent problems on the bench by paying attention to the races and making informed decisions. Halverson was ousted in the primary this year.
On the general election ballot, there are 10 contested District Court races in Clark County, with several new faces running for office.
In the race for District Court, Department 6, Judge Elissa Cadish is running for retention. She was appointed to the bench last year and brought experience, a sharp mind and a deep sense of professionalism and dedication to the bench. She has earned a full term on the bench and should be retained. The Sun endorses Elissa Cadish.
Linda Marie Bell is running to replace her father, retiring Judge Stewart Bell, in Department 7. A member of the federal public defender’s office, Bell has experience in the courts. She displays an even temperament and a strong understanding of the law. She has the ability to be as good a judge as the father she’s trying to replace. The Sun endorses Linda Marie Bell.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Doug Smith is running for District Court, Department 8. Smith has more than a dozen years of experience on the bench and understands the law and the court system. The Sun endorses Doug Smith.
Longtime prosecutor William “Bill” Kephart is challenging Judge Jessie Walsh in Department 10. An experienced trial attorney, Kephart knows the courts inside and out and has the knowledge and ability to do the job. We believe he is the best candidate in the race. The Sun endorses William “Bill” Kephart.
District Judge Michelle Leavitt is running for reelection, completing her first term in Department 12. Leavitt now has nine years on the bench, having spent three years as a Municipal Court judge before being appointed to District Court in 2002. Later that year she was retained by the voters. She has proved herself well, having handled several high-profile trials with the skill of the seasoned judge that she has become. The Sun endorses Michelle Leavitt.
Judge Donald Mosley is running for his fifth full term in Department 14 and is a good judge who handles his criminal calendar well. Considering the relative youth of the District Court bench, Clark County cannot afford to lose Mosley’s experience. The Sun endorses Donald Mosley.
Judge Michael Villani was appointed to Department 17 in March 2007 and quickly worked to clear a backlog of cases and speed up the time it takes to hear and decide cases in his court. Beyond his efficiency, Villani has earned a reputation as a skillful, knowledgeable and hardworking judge. He is the clear pick in this race. The Sun endorses Michael Villani.
Judge Susan Johnson, who was elected to Department 22 to a two-year term in 2006, has shown herself to be a capable, bright and energetic judge. She also has worked to improve courtroom efficiency. She is the obvious choice. The Sun endorses Susan Johnson.
Judge Stefany Miley, who has been on the Family Court bench nearly four years, is running for the open seat in District Court’s Department 23. Miley shows a clear understanding of the law and the role of a judge. She is the best candidate in the race. The Sun endorses Stefany Miley.
The race for Department 25 features two skilled and experienced attorneys, Kathleen Delaney and Susan Scann, who both say the public would be well served with either one of them in office. We agree and wish they were in different races. However, we believe Delaney is the better of the two. We have known her for a long time because she is the daughter of the late Sun entertainment columnist Joe Delaney. She has well-rounded experience, having worked as a corporate attorney on the Strip and now as a prosecutor in the Nevada Attorney General’s office. She has good ideas about improving the court system and a passion for the law. The Sun endorses Kathleen Delaney.