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Judge Demands the Opportunity to Defend Behavior

•  Justice Stories     updated  2008/08/06 10:28

Embattled District Judge Elizabeth Halverson says her due-process rights were trampled leading up to a Judicial Discipline Commission hearing this week to consider 14 counts of alleged misconduct lodged against the elected judge. Halverson was suspended last summer amid allegations that she created a hostile work environment, fell asleep during trials, improperly communicated with jurors and was inept at conducting trials.

She has continued to collect an annual salary of $130,000, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The judge has denied all charges of wrongdoing.

Halverson, who is up for re-election in the Aug. 12 primaries, says the hearing was calculated to generate "so much adverse media publicity so as to deny her any chance of re-election to the state office of which she is the incumbent."

Halverson says in her complaint filed in federal court that she was denied information and evidence necessary to her defense, and wasn't allowed to interview witnesses. She also claims alleged evidence against her was seized through warrantless searches.

Additionally, the judge says officials violated her Sixth Amendment right to counsel of her own choice by allowing her to select her own attorney on the condition that no continuance be sought.

Halverson has maintained that she has been unfairly targeted because of longstanding animosity between her and Chief District Judge Kathy Hardcastle, the Review-Journal reported. Hardcastle has denied those claims.

The discipline hearing began Monday and is expected to end Friday.

On Monday, Halverson, who had oxygen tubes in her nose, faced her former bailiff, who testified that the judge made him rub her feet, ordered him to microwave her meals in a bathroom after she used it, and had him spy on other judges and court staff, the Review-Journal reported.

Halverson is represented by Luke Ciciliano.

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