Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Tragedy follows scandal, and not for the first time

Lisa Willardson is sworn in
before testifying at the
disciplinary hearing of
Family Court Judge Steven Jones
on Dec. 4.
The news broke Friday morning that former Clark County prosecutor Lisa Willardson was dead. It was as shockingly unexpected as it was predictable. Another attorney in a high-profile scandal found dead. David Amesbury, suicide, Homeowners Association imbroglio. Nancy Kwon, suicide, also HOA scandal-related. David Schubert, suicide after crack cocaine conviction. Now Willardson? Was the woman at the heart of Judge Steven Jones’ fall from grace the latest in a long list of shamed attorneys who suffered public humiliation and then ended it all?

Willardson caught the attention of colleagues (who caught it on camera) when Judge Steven Jones, whom she appeared before in her official capacity, fondled her knee under a table. That led to her firing at the hands of then-District Attorney David Roger, who also filed a complaint against Jones with the judicial discipline commission.

Willardson sued the D.A, continued seeing the now-suspended judge and began her own campaign for a seat on the family court bench. Hardly the actions of a defeated, suicidal woman. Yet friends and colleagues posting on her Facebook page hinted Willardson took her own life, with one attorney noting it was a lesson for all. Another poster spewed venom at the two attorneys who exposed the lovesick couple, as if Willardson’s colleagues should have allowed the tryst to flourish, even as public integrity eroded.

The coroner says Willardson died on the day after Christmas, just hours after word came down that the Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission ruled her relationship with Jones violated judicial rules. According to news reports the judge returned from Utah when Willardson failed to answer text messages that morning. Was she incapacitated all day and unable to answer? Jones says he found her dead, slumped over a toilet. The coroner said she died at 6:40 p.m. But if she hadn’t returned messages all day, did she even know of the commission’s findings, reported just before noon?

By most accounts Willardson was a talented, passionate and committed advocate for abused and neglected children.

Now, she’s likely to be best remembered for being found dead by her legally troubled lover, who she once described in an email as “freaking hot.”

Full Article and Source:
Tragedy follows scandal, and not for the first time


Thelma said...

Are these relationships so uncommon in the courts?

Finny said...

This is an intriguing story.

Anonymous said...

Narcissism is rampant among lawyers and judges. It's the answer to this apparent riddle -- how could this woman fight these charges, run for a judgeship, then kill herself? It's all about her pathologically narcissistic self-image, the prism through which she and many lawyers and judges view the world.

When her bubble burst, she felt she had nothing else to live for.

I think the Bar needs to investigate the lawyer who attacked on Facebook the lawyers who reported this travesty. There were clients involved. Their right to an objective court process is paramount. Anyone who has pledged themselves to uphold the law, as lawyers and judges do, should have a complete and irrevocable understanding of this paramount concept.