03 Oct Erika Ballou
Photographs provided by candidates or their campaign committees.
CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE RESPONSES
Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.
I feel that we need better judges on the bench. I've had judges not even understand the basics of evidence. One of the other candidates told me that rather than complain, I should do something about it and run for judge.
What are your views on the courts’ responsibility to uphold precedent on reproductive health care, particularly as it relates to Roe v. Wade and access to abortion as a constitutional right?
Reproductive healthcare is necessary healthcare. Judges must uphold this fundamental constitutional right.
What are your views on “human dignity,” as applied by the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Windsor (133 S. Ct. 2675), shares the same constitutional protection provided to liberty and equality rights?
LGBTQ rights are human rights. Until all people are treated equally under the law, we have to fight for the least among us.
Do you believe that Brown v. Board of Education (347 U.S. 483) was correctly decided?
I think it was too timid, but fundamentally correct. The "all deliberate speed" language allowed states to weasel out of doing the right thing for years.
Would you honor the request of a plaintiff, defendant, or witness in a case before you who is transgender to be referred to in accordance with that person’s gender identity?
Describe your understanding of Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises (390 U.S. 400) and application of this precedent to nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in places of public accommodation.
I do not know that case and would feel uncomfortable speculating, however, as stated people should not have to face discrimination in any aspect of life but especially before the law.
Have you been involved in a significant case where a primary issue was sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV/AIDs discrimination? If so, can you provide the case, venue, case number and case citation (if published decision) and your involvement?
No. I exclusively practice criminal law.
With more and more Nevadans only one family emergency away from being unable to pay rent and maintain shelter for their loved ones, what steps would you take towards having a more equitable eviction process for Nevadans?
I believe the government should provide more for the needs of those of us who are in more need of social safety net programs. Because I exclusively practice criminal law, I don't know the eviction process but would be interested in making it more just for those facing eviction.
How would you ensure that criminal defendants with adverse immigration consequences attached to their cases are protected in the event the case is dismissed or otherwise resolved, so that the criminal justice system does not become a trap for the undocumented?
It should definitely be MUCH easier to seal records for everyone but especially for arrests that did not result in a conviction.
In recent years, we have seen Immigration and Customs Enforcement detain individuals as they are leaving criminal court hearings. Please describe your views on this practice.
That practice should be outlawed.
What actions will you take to dismantle the school to prison and deportation pipeline? What do you see as the judiciary’s role in advancing restorative discipline practices for Nevada’s students?
I would do whatever it takes to dismantle the school to prison and deportation pipeline. Children should never be treated as adults in the criminal incarceration system. Brain science tells us they are not fully developed. As a judge, I would take this into account.
What do you think is the most important issue or problem in the state’s justice system today, and how would you work to address it?
Racial bias infects every part of the criminal incarceration system. One thing we can do is have a much more diverse bench and bar.
Do you feel that existing diversion initiatives and specialty courts are effective in meeting the needs of the community? What changes would you make to improve their effectiveness?
I believe that, unfortunately, the programming is too dependent on the judges who run the specialty courts. For example, Drug Court used to be a favorite diversion program that I felt was successful in helping participants overcome addiction issues. However, the current judge in charge of that program (who, thankfully is not seeking reelection) does not believe addiction is a disease and treats the program as a waystop to sending people to prison rather than as a means to actually stop the addiction that drove the person to commit a crime.
What value does cash bail bring to Nevada’s judicial system?
None. The ends of ensuring people make court dates and do not pose a threat to the community can be accomplished by other means. It serves only to ensure that poor people remain in jail.
In light of Nevada’s move to legalize recreational marijuana, what is your position on vacating convictions of individuals for marijuana possession?
Marijuana possession convictions should be vacated and sealed.