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September 18, 2014

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Judge Steve Jones found in violation of judicial code for presiding over girlfriend’s cases

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Judge Steve Jones

The Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission has ruled that suspended Clark County District Judge Steve Jones violated the judicial code by sitting on cases handled by his girlfriend.

The council, in a decision released today, said Jones violated the rules that a judge "must not permit social and other interests or relationships to influence the judge's judicial conduct or judgment."

It said one rule requires a judge "to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and to avoid impropriety and or the appearance of impropriety."

Jones was accused by the commission of presiding over cases for which his girlfriend, Deputy District Attorney Lisa Willardson, was the prosecuting lawyer in 2011.

There was a 12-count complaint filed against Jones, and the commission found him guilty of nine of the counts for conduct in the months of October, November and December 2011.

According to the decision, attorneys in the contested cases asked Jones to remove himself because Willardson was representing the county, but he refused.

Jones has been suspended since he was indicted by a federal grand jury in 2011 of being involved in $3 million investment fraud scheme. A trial for that case has been set for March.

Jones has continued to receive his $200,000 salary during his suspension.

The commission set Jan. 27 for a hearing in Las Vegas to decide the punishment for Jones' violations of the judicial code.

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