Count Raul Saavedra among the courthouse regulars who say Las Vegas Municipal Judge George Assad got off easy in connection with the unlawful detention of a Las Vegas woman in the judge’s courtroom six years ago.
Saavedra was the Municipal Court marshal who took Anne Chrzanowski into custody that day under what he insists were orders from the judge. Chrzanowski was basically held hostage for a couple of hours until her boyfriend showed up to take care of some unpaid traffic tickets.
The light sanctions levied against Assad years later — a written apology to Chrzanowski (who had since moved out of town) and enrollment in an ethics course — have focused attention once more on the state’s secretive and often slow-moving disciplinary process for judges.
The Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission is considered part of the judicial branch of state government, but the Nevada Supreme Court does not have any authority to oversee its daily operations. The governor, the Supreme Court and the Nevada State Bar appoint the commission’s seven part-time board members, who in turn appoint their own executive director.
When the Legislature hands out money to state agencies every two years, the commission usually is near the bottom of the list. With its small $600,000 budget, it is not unusual for the panel to run out of money to hire investigators or gather its members for a hearing on a disciplinary action.
All of this leads to the public perception that the commission has failed to consistently protect the integrity of the judiciary in a timely manner.
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For Judges Who Err, Justice Far From Swift