Margaret Pickard

Margaret Pickard

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Margaret E.  Pickard

for Family Court Judge Department V


Candidate contact information:

Email address:

Phone number: 702-373-1566







Please share briefly what inspired you to run for this office and why you feel you’re qualified for the position.


I am seeking election to Family Court, Department V, to continue my work with children and families in the family court system in Clark County. My entire professional career has been devoted to protecting the interests of children caught in the legal process. I currently serve as a Hearing Master for the Eighth Judicial District Court, Family Division, hearing cases in child abuse and neglect, as well as overseeing the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court.

Prior to my appointment, I specialized in family law, working as a Family Law Mediator and Parenting Coordinator, assisting parents involved in high conflict custody cases to work cooperatively to resolve timeshare disputes. In 2009, I brought the Cooperative Parenting program to UNLV, where I taught separating and divorcing parents involved in Family Court cases how to remove their children from parental conflict. In 2011, I was awarded the Peacemaker of the Year by the Mediators of Southern Nevada, for my work in this program.

From 2014-2018, I served on the Executive Counsel of the Nevada State Bar’s Family Law Section. During this time, I was the Co-Editor of the Nevada Family Law Report and Co-chair of the Child Witness Committee, developing standardized protocols for conducting child interviews in the Family Court system. I authored several articles for the Nevada Family Law Report and regularly trained Family Court judges and attorneys throughout Nevada to develop best practices in creating parenting plans and holiday schedules for separating and divorcing families.

In 2014, I was recognized as one of the Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in Nevada, by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys. I am the author of several books, including The Parenting Guidebook. In 2012, my colleague, family law attorney Stacy Rocheleau, and I were the hosts of the radio show, Divorce War Radio.

I am passionate about family law and ensuring that Clark County families have access to justice and are well served by our family court system.


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?


The role of the judicial branch of government is to interpret and apply the law as it is written, which includes following precedent established by higher courts for reproductive health care and the right to privacy, including the right to choose, as established in Roe v. Wade, et seq.


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?


Yes, marriages entered into and recognized by state law, must be afforded the same protections and dignity in federal law.


Do you believe that Brown v. Board of Education (347 U.S. 483) was correctly decided?


Yes. While trial courts do not have the authority to make and change law, the role of the United States Supreme Court is to correct inequalities and injustices in the laws of both the states and federal government. The racism inherent in the legislative climate of Topeka, Kansas, was appropriately corrected by the US Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education.


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?


Yes. In my court, I acknowledge their gender identity and ask a transgender litigant to identify their preferred pronoun out of respect for their 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.


Newman v. Piggie provides for those injured by discriminatory practices under Title VII and who successfully seek injunctive relief to recover attorney's fees. This case was crucial in expanding the extent of injunctive relief (it applied to both restaurants and drive-ins) and, significantly, to allow individuals/groups who bring cases against discrimination under Title VII to recover the attorneys' fees which provides the VEHICLE to change discriminatory laws.


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?






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?


We should address the issue of income equality earlier than the eviction process so that families are not choosing between putting a roof over their head or feeding their families. We should expand Section 8 housing alternatives and provide graduated rental rates.


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?



As these issue are tangential to the cases that I hear, I cannot address this issue directly, other than noting that we should show compassion to those who are struggling within our society.



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.



As these issue are tangential to the cases that I hear, I cannot address this issue directly, other than noting that we should show compassion to those who are struggling within our society.



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?



To dismantle the school to prison and deportation pipeline, we need to increase and re-allocate funding for education and offer detention alternative programs.

Education: Offering educational opportunities, including educational mentors to at-risk youth, as well as safe and supportive community centers, both on school campuses and within the communities, are necessary to provide at-risk youth opportunities to find educational success, which decreases the chance s/he will end up in the criminal justice system. One program that I oversee for the district court is the Truancy Diversion Program to address barriers to students' school attendance and provide positive interactions with at-risk students and their families.

Detention Alternative Programs: The courts should offer more detention alternative programs. Detention does not address or solve the community's inequalities and disproportionate discriminatory practices within the criminal justice system. When I served as the Manager of the Drug, Alcohol and Mental Health Courts of the Eighth Judicial District
Courts, I oversaw the Felony DUI program, which required self-pay detention alternatives. Specifically, The Felony DUI program required participants to self-pay for their probation supervision, drug counseling and testing, and tracking devices, such as GPS units. I solicited and obtained a $1.2 million grant for SAPTA (Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency) to provide transitional housing for individuals waiting in custody on TAXPAYER funds (such as at CCDC) so that they could get jobs and start substance use and mental health counseling. This served to provide them better support, reduced recidivism rates, and lower costs for the taxpayer at the same time.



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?



The majority of my practice has been in family court, where a significant issue is access to justice. I am passionate about family law and ensuring that Clark County families have access to justice and are well served by our family court system. This includes offering simplified court forms and filing practices.



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 served as the Specialty Courts Manager of the Eighth Judicial District Court's then nine specialty courts in Clark County. Diversionary programs and specialty courts are essential to the court's programming and should be expanded to include educational training (GED/HiSet classes and programs), job training options, and placement.



What value does cash bail bring to Nevada’s judicial system?



In Frye v. EJDC, the Nevada Supreme Court correctly ruled that before setting cash bail, the court should consider the financial resources of the defendant. If a defendant does not present a flight risk or danger to the community the court should consider release on personal recognizance or other non-monetary conditions.


In light of Nevada’s move to legalize recreational marijuana, what is your position on vacating convictions of individuals for marijuana possession?



These issues should be addressed and considered by the Nevada Supreme Court. As a current judicial officer, I am responsible for interpreting and enforcing existing law without legislating changes.


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