Nevada Supreme Court Issues Opinion: Judge Halverson is Back

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.




Filed under Law

9 responses to “Nevada Supreme Court Issues Opinion: Judge Halverson is Back

  1. Great post and catch, yojoe. This is unbelievable. Or not. When we hear the “bottom feeder” jokes, I tend to feel bad only until I read the briefs, writing, and antics of the “other half” — and then I realize they’re not talking about us.

    Legal educations are very, very easy to come by.

    Far too easy.

    What could be done?

    I say, brightline LSAT and/or undergrad grade cutoffs. If you don’t make the grade, you can’t pretend to be the “brain” that is going to DISPASSIONATELY solve other peoples’ problems.


  2. Lime –

    As for the legal education, it appears from the ABA article Judge Halverson has a very keen legal mind. She apparently drafted the writ petition to the NV Supreme Court, it was quite good. Nonetheless, there are problems in this courthouse. One can only imagine the scene with Judge Halverson barricaded behind private security guards calling 911, while 5 bailiffs try to enter.


  3. I don’t think, from a reading of the ABA article, that it’s abundantly clear that the ABA reporter agreed with Judge Halverson’s law school buddy’s evaluation of the Judge’s acumen. Nonetheless, it’s out there, and it IS abundantly clear that no one face-to-face with a Judge who’s hired an employment lawyer and has discrimination claims against her is going to say anything bad about the Judge until all the suits are settled.

    Not only is the writ petition signed and filed by the three-attorney team representing Judge Halverson, but Gentile, the “prominent attorney,” would be self-evidently quite well suited by arguing publicly, or having his firm seed the idea via reporters, that the Judge herself — apparently accused of, if the list wasn’t long enough, incompetence — drafted or researched the petition herself.

    As with all of these things, the bare news is never quite the whole story.

    I supposed I should have added the MPRE to the tests that should be battle-hardened before lawyers can be released into the wild.


  4. Stephen

    First, Halverson is not “back” to work. The Nevada Supreme Court concurrently denied Halverson’s “emergency” request to stay her interim suspension (by the NCJD) from the bench, which will stay in place pending oral argument before the court on September 5.

    Second, the ABA article did not assert Halverson had or has a keen legal mind. Nor did she draft the quo warranto petition, nor was it particularly well written in any event.

    Halverson did draft appeal briefs in the San Francisco Rent Board case Halverson and her sister lost (the one that resulted in the $40,000 attorney’s fees judgment against her), and displayed the skill of a pro se litigant. As the California Court of Appeal said:

    “Before turning to the merits, we must address a procedural issue. The briefs appellants have filed are deficient in several respects. The problems range from the visual impairment caused by printing appellants’ entire opening brief in capital letters, thus making it difficult to read, to serious omissions (appellants do not provide citations for many of the “facts” they state in their briefs as is required by California Rules of Court, rule 14(a)(1)(C)), to possibly contemptuous conduct…”

    (Citation: LaMacchia v. Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Bd., City and County of San Francisco, (2004) Not Reported in Cal.Rptr.3d, 2004 WL 1161646.)

    NOTE: Halverson’s maiden name is LaMacchia.

    Halverson was an attorney for 14 years at this point, and any attorney who files an appellate (or any) brief printed in all caps and without citations to the record on appeal is hardly a “keen legal mind”.

  5. Stephen

    Did you watch the Halverson TV interview last night (July 31)?

    What of Halverson’s claim that she attended USC LS at age 19? Could this possibly be true?

    There was no-one under 21 in my entire LS, and I have never heard of a 19 year old law student. have you?


    HALVERSON INTERVIEW: – Special Coverage&d1=1410667&LaunchPageAdTag=News&activePane=info&playerVersion=1&hostPageUrl=http%3A//


    [See link for photo]

    Sally Owen (shown right) was Judge Halverson’s law clerk.

    Linda John was Judge Halverson’s executive assistant.

    Mark Sayre, Investigative Reporter
    I-Team: 2 Former Employees of Judge Halverson Speak Out

    Linda John: “I did testify in front of the judicial committee and to be absolutely honest, I could have sat there stark-a** naked and recited the Gettysburg Address for as much attention as they paid to our testimony.” (Yikes!)

    Both Owen and John were let go by the Clark County District Court

    Upon Halverson’s July 17 interim suspension by the NCJD.

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