03 10月 Trevor Atkin
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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 successfully sought my current position as District Court Judge via the Judicial Selection vetting process which ultimately saw me appointed by Governor Sisolak. I sought the position and seek to retain it because it is the most effective way to protect and serve the Las Vegas community - the community which has provided my grandparents, parents, daughter and myself so much. Professionally, my 32 years of civil litigation experience in the courtroom earned the highest legal rating of "preeminent / AV" by Martindale-Hubbell in 2003. It also earned my induction into the American Board of Trial Advocates, an invitation only legal society of trial lawyers and judges. Aside from my professional qualifications, I possess the proper judicial temperament, common sense, and wisdom to decide cases fairly and in a pragmatic fashion. And finally, I possess the necessary degree of humility such that I recognize I'm not perfect and will make mistakes and am willing to reconsider rulings if determined to be in error.
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?
My role as a judge is not to legislate or "make law"; rather, my role is to interpret the law and Constitution as written. As to Roe v. Wade, it is the law of land so to speak and I will continue to follow it.
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?
The human dignity referenced by the United States Supreme Court in the Windsor case spoke to, addressed, and explained how subsumed within the definitions of "liberty" and "equality" is the concept of human dignity. I am professionally and ethically bound to adhere to the Revised Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct, particularly, Rule 2.11(A)(5) and Rule 4.1(A)(13) and in so doing note that my personal opinion or view is not relevant as I am required to follow this common sense recognition of the law and equal rights.
Do you believe that Brown v. Board of Education (347 U.S. 483) was correctly decided?
I believe this case was correctly decided. "Separate" by its very definition is, and was, unequal.
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.
First, places of public accommodation fall within and are covered by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Secondarily, the Civil Rights Act of of 1964's prohibition of discrimination does not infringe upon the freedom of religion clause set forth in the first amendment of the United States Constitution. In answering the question of its application to nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ persons in places of public accommodation I am bound to adhere to the Revised Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct, particularly, Rule 2.11(A)(5) and Rule 4.1(A)(13). If I disclose an opinion as to how it applies it is possible that the rules of ethics would prohibit me from hearing a case on this issue. If ever called upon to rule, I will follow the law as I understand it to be.
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?
I have not.
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?
As a judge, I am not empowered to make, pass or enact laws regarding a more equitable eviction process. Again, I am duty bound to follow the existing laws enacted via legislation and executive order. To the extent afforded by legislation, I will employ my attributes of common sense, empathy, and sound discretion to the bench when ruling on evictions.
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?
I currently do not have a criminal docket assignment; however, if assigned such cases, I would to the extent possible and authorized by law take a pragmatic, and wide view of the potential risks and harms on both sides and perform a legally reasoned and authorized balancing test. Again, I am duty bound to follow and interpret the laws as written and am not at liberty to selectively enforce or not enforce the laws of the land.
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.
I have not witnessed this.
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?
As a judge, I am not allowed to take any action or dismantle any existing law. It is the judiciary's role to interpret the laws as written. That said, if the legislative or executive branches request input or data from the judiciary on this topic in a manner such that it does not infringe upon the independence of the judiciary or violate any judicial cannons or rules, I would share such data on the topic.
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?
Equal access to justice. When serving as a trustee with the Nevada Law Foundation I realized the importance of this issue. As a civil democracy, we can never strive hard enough to ensure that all citizens have what is considered to be adequate access to legal help and the legal system in general. The steps that can be taken include early access to counsel and self-help to avoid lawsuits and complications from delay; implementation of alternative dispute resolution process to encourage early and cost effective resolution; encouragement and incentives for more pro bono services offered by attorneys; expansion of legal self-help center staffing and funding; and increasing the funding necessary for the delivery of grants to various legal aid services offered by the State Bar and volunteer organizations.
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 the diversion initiatives are effective, but like equal access to justice, can always do more. The specialty courts are wonderful in concept and can be improved to include more counseling and transitions into the community via partnerships with employers in various industries which serve our community.
What value does cash bail bring to Nevada’s judicial system?
It creates incentive to not flee the jurisdiction and to stay and answer charges. An inequitable situation however can arise by the fact that not all those charged have the financial resources to post cash bail.
In light of Nevada’s move to legalize recreational marijuana, what is your position on vacating convictions of individuals for marijuana possession?
The decision of whether to vacate convictions, like the decision to legalize, is a matter for the legislature and not the judiciary. I am bound to adhere to the Revised Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct, particularly, Rule 2.11(A)(5) and Rule 4.1(A)(13). If I disclose an opinion as to how it applies it is possible that the rules of ethics would prohibit me from hearing a case on this issue. If ever called upon to rule, I will follow the law as I understand it to be.