03 Oct Michelle Tobler
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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.
As a lifelong Las Vegas resident, I was inspired to run for this office because I want to serve my hometown community. I have been serving as a Hearing Officer for the Department of Family Services, hearing appeals of abuse and neglect cases for 4 years. I have also done pro bono work in Family Court for the Children's Attorney's Project. I understand the importance of Family Court and the impact it can have on people's lives. I have also been serving as an Arbitrator for the District Court for 10 years, having rendered decisions in over 100 cases. I have been practicing law in Las Vegas for 24 years. I believe that all of this experience qualifies me to be an excellent Family Court Judge. Appearing in Family Court can be stressful, and I plan to be a judge that manages a professional, fair and compassionate courtroom.
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?
I believe it is the courts' responsibility to make well reasoned decisions based upon the applicable law, which includes precedent, and the facts of the particular case before them. That would include Roe v. Wade precedent on reproductive health care and access to abortion as a constitutional right, if the case presents that issue.
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?
I believe the U.S. Supreme Court's decision was correct that "human dignity" should be protected by the due process and equal protection principles guaranteed under the Constitution.
Do you believe that Brown v. Board of Education (347 U.S. 483) was correctly decided?
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.
It is my understanding that the U.S. Supreme Court in Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises held that a restaurant couldn't refuse to serve customers based on their race, despite the restaurant owner's religious beliefs to the contrary, and that this case has been used as precedent for nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in places of public accommodation.
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?
I understand how big a concern this is for local families, especially during this economic upheaval caused by the pandemic. As a Family Court Judge, I will not be involved in any eviction cases, as those cases are handled by other courts.
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 a Family Court Judge, I would potentially deal with juvenile criminal offenders. I would ensure that the record is clear regarding why the case was dismissed or otherwise resolved, and ensure that the defendant is given the documentation regarding their proceeding.
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 a Judge, I must follow the law. However, I don't believe people should be detained without a warrant or court order for their arrest.
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 Family Court Judge, I would potentially deal with juvenile criminal offenders. I believe in using all alternative programs available for juvenile offenders, such as our specialty courts, juvenile drug court and mental health court, so that prison isn't the only option for juvenile offenders. I would try to work with schools to advance restorative practices for Nevada's students.
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?
I believe the most important issue/problem in the state's justice system today is access to justice. Too many Nevadans can't afford legal representation for the many different legal issues that may arise in their lives. I would support self-help legal centers, legal aid clinics, pro bono representation of individuals and other alternative resources to help individuals gain access to justice.
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 existing diversion initiatives and specialty courts are effective and have made a big impact on meeting the needs of the community. I would support additional resources for the existing and any new diversion initiatives and specialty courts to improve their effectiveness.
What value does cash bail bring to Nevada’s judicial system?
Cash bail is one tool to ensure that individuals accused of a crime return to court and do not pose a danger to the community. The Nevada Supreme Court has recently ordered important limitations on cash bail, including taking into consideration the person's ability to make cash bail.
In light of Nevada’s move to legalize recreational marijuana, what is your position on vacating convictions of individuals for marijuana possession?
I believe that the legislature should consider vacating convictions of individuals for marijuana possession, if under the facts of their case, their possession would have been legal, i.e., recreational marijuana, under the law as it currently exists.