Las Vegas Sun

June 16, 2019

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Q+A: Voters’ guide for Clark County district attorney

District Attorney Steve Wolfson

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

District Attorney Steve Wolfson talks during an interview Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013.

Clark County voters will decide this fall whether to keep District Attorney Steve Wolfson as their top prosecutor.

Wolfson, a Democrat, doesn’t face much of a challenge. He’ll appear on November’s ballot opposite Libertarian challenger Jim Duensing, who lacks political backing and funding.

Here’s a voters guide to the race.

How does the district attorney's office work?

The Clark County District Attorney’s Office is the largest law firm in the state.

It has a budget of about $65 million and nearly 700 employees. The office employs more than 160 attorneys who handle 55,000 cases annually.

The office has four divisions: criminal, civil, family support and juvenile.

What should I know about Wolfson?

A Los Angeles native, he’s been in office since 2012 when he was appointed by the Clark County Board of Commissioners. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from San Diego State University and a law degree from California Western School of Law.

He’s married to former District Court Judge Jackie Glass and has two daughters.

His first job out of law school was at the Clark County District Attorney’s Office, and he subsequently served as a Las Vegas councilman.

What does he list as his accomplishments? Why does Wolfson want to run?

Wolfson touts his office’s work on Metro Police's use-of-force investigations. He credits his efforts for alleviating a backlog of fatal police shooting investigations and says his staff’s work has created more accountability in police shootings.

“I’ve worked toward helping get the community’s trust back in the justice system,” Wolfson said.

Who is backing Wolfson?

Wolfson's endorsements include the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Managers & Supervisors Association and the Nevada Association of Public Safety Officers. His campaign has reported raising about $608,000.

What should I know about Duensing?

Duensing has a bachelor’s from Hillsdale College and doctoral degrees in law, American criminal justice and European union law from Valparaiso University School of Law.

He’s a Pahrump lawyer who made headlines in 2009 after Metro Police shot him in the back during a scuffle. Duensing ran from officers during a traffic stop.

The Libertarian also had three unsuccessful runs at Congress against Shelley Berkley in 2008, 2006 and 2004.

After the shooting, he was charged with resisting a public officer, being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm and illegally carrying a concealed weapon.

He’s set to stand trial Oct. 28 in Clark County District Court.

Why does Duensing want to run for office?

He wants to hold Metro more accountable for officer-involved shootings. He also says he wants the county to drop all traffic ticket cases that don’t involved damaged property or injuries.

“I want to stop punishing people for victimless crimes,” Duensing said. “(Wolfson) should be prosecuting people who are murdering people on our streets.”

Who is backing Duensing?

The Sun couldn’t find any endorsements. He report receiving $385 campaign contributions.

This story has been revised. In the original version, the number of employees in the Clark County District Attorney's office and the campaign contributions raised by Wolfson and Duensing were incorrect.

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