Las Vegas Sun

September 23, 2021

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Ethics panel says judge can preside over cases involving former lover’s law firm

CARSON CITY — A District Court judge is not automatically disqualified from presiding over cases involving a former lover’s law firm, an ethics committee says.

There is a registry that identifies persons who have a relationship with a judge that presents a reason for the disqualification of the jurist in a case.

The judge, who is not identified, said that ten years prior to election, there was a romantic relationship with the lawyer for about one year. The judge said there is no continuing, financial or regular social contact with the attorney.

The judge asked the Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics and Election Practices whether he must be disqualified in cases involving the law firm of which the former lover is a partner.

The committee, in an opinion written by Chairman Dan Reaser, said the judge “unequivocally disavows any actual bias or prejudice to the former romantic and domestic partner.”

Reaser wrote that members of the entire law firm affiliated with the former romantic and domestic partner should not be included on the automatic disqualification recusal list. The judge should decide on a case-by-case basis if he should step down.

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