The Nevada Supreme Court, on 27 July 2007, issued its opinion in Halverson v. Hardcastle. The result: Judge Halverson is back.
Judge Elizabeth Halverson
Judge Halverson petitioned the court for a writ of quo warranto to challenge the authority of the chief judge, Chief Judge Halverson, to take away her criminal caseload, form a committee to evaluate her conduct, and to bar Judge Halverson from entering the courthouse. That is correct, the chief judge had issued an order prohibiting Judge Halverson from entering the courthouse. The Nevada Supreme Court eventually rules that the chief judge exceeded her authority when she banned Judge Halverson from the courthouse, but was within her authority to establish the committee and remove Judge Halverson from the criminal docket.
Judge Halverson brought her own bodyguards, to block the court’s personnel – five bailiffs, a videographers, and a clerk – from entering her chambers. During this attempted entry, Judge Halverson called 911.
For a number of years, Judge Halverson had been a clerk with the Eight Judicial District in Las Vegas, Nevada. For a number of years she had been the clerk for the chief judge. Four days after Chief Judge Hardcastle ascended to her current post, she fired then-clerk Halverson. As she was no longer a clerk Judge Halverson, ran for judge, and won. Actually, she won the second time. The first time she ran against Judge Gerald Hardcastle, now-ex-husband of Chief Judge Hardcastle, and father of their difficult child.
As a result of her loss during her first run, she brought a complaint alleging Chief Judge Hardcastle had impermissibly campaigned for her husband. The Standing Committee of Judicial Ethics and Elections Practices agreed, and issued an opinion admonishing Chief Judge Hardcastle to not campaign on behalf of her husband.
After Judge Halverson took the bench the real problems started. These are among the complaints against Judge Halverson:
- Bailiff complains judge makes him massage her feet and back
- Judge would put staff members under oath and ask them questions
- Judge put her husband under oath to ask if the house was clean
- Judge’s mother asked if the bailiff was her “servant”
- Judge fell asleep during her first criminal trial
- Judge spoke to criminal juries, outside the presence of accused and counsel for both parties
- berated lawyers for not contributing to her election fund (she dismisses this on the basis that no lawyers contributed so she could not be discriminating against any individuals)
- Judge would call staffer “the evil one,” “bitch,” “the elf,” and “the Antichrist”
- Judge fired her assistant Ileen Spooner, which resulted in a defamation suit against the judge
(Note: these are only allegations, but come from formal complaints and sworn affidavits – as the author does not wish to become a named defendant)
Judge Halverson’s problems do not end at the courthouse. Apparently, she married her current husband while he was on parole, and she was a law clerk. There is also a pending judgment against her for $42,000. Faziola v. La Macchia, aka Halverson, No. A497569 (Dist. Ct. Clark County Nev.). And, the county has been after her to clean her residence, which contained a large amount of trash in the backyard, overgrown weeds and shrubs, a near-collapsed shed, mosquito-ridden slime in the swimming pool, and the porch and two tents pitched on the driveway were choked with empty oxygen bottles.
It is staggering to consider the judicial resources wasted on this matter. And, as for any hopes of elevating the public esteem of the legal profession and particularly of judges, this could not be worse . . .
On second thought, with Judge Halverson at the helm of her scooter and back in the courthouse, it could get much, much, worse.