Our endorsements: The Sun offers its choices in judicial races, and explains our reasoning behind each

Editor’s note: Candidates receiving the Sun’s endorsements are listed in bold type; (I) denotes incumbent.


(Note: On state level judicial races, voters have an option to select none of the candidates.)

Supreme Court Justice D

√ Ozzie Fumo

√ Douglas Herndon

None of these candidates

Voters have a choice between two exceptional candidates, each of whom would be a great addition to the court for different reasons. Herndon brings 15 years of experience as a Clark County district judge and 14 years as a prosecutor in the Clark County district attorney’s office. Fumo was a well-respected lawmaker in the Nevada Assembly for four years and boasts 20 years as a practicing trial attorney in Las Vegas. The Sun endorses both candidates — voters simply can’t lose.

Court of Appeals Judge 3

√ Bonnie Bulla (I)

Susan Bush

None of these candidates

Bulla was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2018 when Abbi Silver was elected to the Supreme Court. Bulla has served Nevada well and has earned a full term.


Department 1

√ Jacob Villani

√ Bita “Marie” Yeager

As with the Fumo-Herndon race for the Supreme Court, this is another one where voters have two strong picks for different reasons. Villani has experience as a prosecutor; Yeager as a public defender. These are two excellent candidates, and the Sun endorses both.

Department 2

Carli Lynn Kierny

√ Richard Scotti (I)

Scotti has had some untoward moments on the bench — an outburst in which he swore and threw a pocket U.S. Constitution at the wall in 2017 resulted in ethics charges by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. But he has apologized, and we believe he’s learned from his mistakes. For voters who think otherwise, however, Kierny is a suitable alternative.

Department 3

Adam Ganz

√ Monica Trujillo

Trujillo stands out because of her strong commitment to public service — she clerked for the public defender office in the District of Columbia during law school, then joined the Clark County public defender’s office after obtaining her degree in 2008.

Department 4

√ Phil Aurbach

Nadia Krall

Aurbach, with 42 years of practice under his belt as a civil attorney in Las Vegas, gets the nod here because of his experience and his deep ties to the community.

Department 5

Veronica Barisich

√ Terry Coffing

Coffing’s breadth of experience, including being a judge pro tem for 15 years and sitting on the state bar association’s board of governors, gives him the edge.

Department 6

√ Jacqueline Bluth (I)

Todd M. Leventhal

Bluth was appointed to the court in April 2019 by Gov. Steve Sisolak after serving as chief deputy district attorney for Clark County in the homicide division. She was an excellent addition to the court and has earned a full term.

Department 8

√ Trevor Atkin (I)

Jessica K. Peterson

Atkin also is an appointee, coming to the bench in September 2019 after a standout career as a practicing attorney. He’s a clear choice here for a full term.

Department 17

Anna Albertson

√ Michael Villani (I)

Villani has been a solid presence in the court since 2007 and has given voters every reason to keep him there.

Department 18

√ Mary Kay Holthus (I)

John A. Hunt

Holthus is another strong Sisolak appointee, coming to the bench in January 2019 after 19 years with the Clark County district attorney’s office, including 16 with the special victims unit.

Department 19

Crystal Eller

√ William “Bill” Kephart (I)

Kephart, a lifelong Clark County resident, has served three decades in the local justice system as a prosecutor, a justice of the peace and, since 2010, as a district judge.

Department 20

Dawn Allysa Hooker

√ Eric Johnson (I)

Johnson, a district judge since 2015, came to the bench with a resume that included service in the U.S. Department of Justice battling organized crime and racketeering.

Department 21

Tara Clark Newberry

√ Jacob Reynolds

While we give our recommendation to Reynolds because of his greater experience, we think voters will be well served by either candidate.

Department 22

√ Susan Holland Johnson (I)

Ben Nadig

Thirteen strong years of experience make Johnson our choice.

Department 23

Karl W. Armstrong

√ Jasmin Lilly-Spells

Voters got this one right in the primary, which Lilly-Spells won. Her service as a public defender and with Court Appointed Special Advocates make her a strong addition to the court.

Department 24

√ Erika D. Ballou

Dan Gilliam

This one is close, but we prefer Ballou in this race at this moment. A public defender who has been licensed since 2003, she will bring a set of personal and professional experiences to the court that we believe is needed at this time.

Department 29

√ David M. Jones (I)

David Lopez-Negrete

Jones, a Las Vegas native, has served the community well in his four years as a district judge.

Department 31

Gary W. Call

√ Joanna S. Kishner (I)

Kishner, another Southern Nevada native, has been on the court for 10 years and is a visible presence in the community, where she volunteers in schools and on boards.

Department 32

√ Rob Bare (I)

Christy Craig

Bare is another incumbent whose experience makes him a clear choice. He has been a local judge for 13 years, starting in Las Vegas Municipal Court before his election to district court in 2010.


Division E

√ Charles J. “Chuck” Hoskin (I)

Thomas G. Kurtz

Hoskin has earned respect in the legal community for his leadership on the court, including six years as presiding judge and service on a Supreme Court commission seeking to improve the abuse and neglect system.

Division G

Benjamin Boone Childs Sr.

√ Rhonda K. Forsberg (I)

Sisolak appointed Forsberg to the court in February 2019 based on her strong background of private practice in family law and service as a pro tem hearing master in Family Court. She’s a strong choice for a full term.

Division I

√ Soonhee “Sunny” Bailey

√ Michelle O. Tobler

Voters can’t go wrong with either of these candidates. Bailey is a hearing master for juvenile cases in Family Court, who also served as a pro tem judge in Las Vegas Municipal Court and with the Clark County public defender’s office. Tobler is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas with 24 years of legal practice on her resume.

Division J

√ Dedree “Dee” Butler

J. Scott MacDonald

Butler is our choice because of her 10 years of experience in the Clark County public defender’s office, where she spent much of her time in Family Court as team chief of the domestic violence unit and defending children in the juvenile delinquency division.

Division M

Lynn Hughes

√ Amy M. Mastin

Mastin brings strong experience as a family law attorney and hearing master in domestic violence court.

Division P

Sara Dayani

√ Mary Perry

In a race between two strong candidates, we believe Perry has the edge in experience with her 19 years of practice, service as a truancy diversion judge and more. We also think she brings valuable perspective to the court with her life experience as an Air Force veteran who worked as a cashier and in security before going to law school.

Division T

√ Nadin Cutter

√ Jason Stoffel

Another race boasting two qualified candidates. Stoffel brings 16 years of legal practice in Clark County and service as a pro tem judge in Family Court, while Cutter 11 years of legal experience and a resume that includes clerking for Clark County District Judge Susan Holland Johnson. Voters can’t go wrong here.

Division U

√ Bill Gonzalez

√ Dawn Throne

Either of these candidates is an excellent choice. Gonzalez is a former Family Court judge seeking to rejoin the bench, while Throne has 23 years of practice in family law.

Division W

Adriana Rincon White

√ Stacy Michelle Rocheleau

Rocheleau gets our endorsement due to her edge in family law experience — 20 years, versus 12 for White. These are both exceptional candidates, however. Rocheleau is a family law specialist who runs her own practice and has served as a judge in the truancy diversion program. White is a hearing master and a former pro tem hearing master.

Division X

Heidi Almase

√ Jim Davis

Davis boasts 15 years of practice in family law and 20 years of service in the Air Force. He’s also been a pro tem hearing master in Family Court for the past five years. He’s a terrific addition to the court.

Division Z

Michele “Shell” Mercer

√ Romeo Perez

Mercer won the primary, but Perez is our choice in this race between two capable candidates. Perez, who has 22 years of family law practice in a firm he started himself out of college, has earned respect in the legal community for his pleasant demeanor and his extensive experience in abuse and neglect cases. He’s a narrow choice over Mercer, a longtime hearing master in Family Court.


Las Vegas 12

Shannon Clowers-Sanborn

√ Diana L. Sullivan (I)

North Las Vegas 3

Belinda T. “BTH” Harris

√ Chris Lee (I)