Monday, June 12, 2006

VEGAS JUSTICE -- LA Times is working on three-part series on the apparent ethical difficulties certain members of the judiciary are having in Nevada.

From Part One: "When Judge Gene T. Porter last ran for reelection, a group of Las Vegas lawyers sponsored a fundraiser for him at Big Bear in California. Even by Las Vegas standards, it was brazen. Some of the sponsors had cases before him. One case was set for a crucial hearing in four days."

From Part Two: "In this town, people speak reverently of having juice, or an 'in,' and [U.S. District Judge James] Mahan — bearded, likable but sometimes caustic — has made it a striking feature in his courtroom. First as a state judge and now as a federal judge, he has approved more than $4.8 million in judgments and fees during more than a dozen cases in which a recent search of court records found no statement that he disclosed his relationships with those who benefited from his decisions."

From Part Three:
One Nevada judge was nearly indicted on blackmail charges. Another ruled repeatedly for a casino corporation in which he held more than 10,000 shares. Still another overruled state authorities and decided in favor of a gambling boss who was notorious as a mob frontman, and whose casino did the judge a $2,800 favor.

Yet the Nevada Supreme Court has conferred upon these judges a special distinction that exempts them from some of the common rules of judicial practice and reduces their accountability. They are among 17 state judges whom the high court has commissioned as senior judges.
Sheesh. See also WSJ Law Blog.