30 Sep Belinda Harris
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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.
To whom much is given, much is expected and required. North Las Vegas is the community that molded me into the person I am today. Currently I am a Chief Deputy Public Defender in Clark County. On a daily basis I serve and help people. I am eager to continue to serve the community that shaped me into the person I am today on a broader scale. I am running for North Las Vegas Justice Court so that I can make systematic changes from the top to the bottom and better serve my community. I am dedicated and devoted to maintaining integrity and fairness in the North Las Vegas Justice Courts.
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 sound decisions based upon 1). the facts of individual cases and 2). the law.
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 that the United States of America's Constitution and its counterparts are living documents. I believe in liberty and equal rights for all. I do not believe that a person should be discriminated against. Human Dignity is where all other fundamental rights stem from.
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.
Under Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises (390 U.S. 400), the Court allowed for attorney fees to be recovered. I think this ruling encourages and allows more people who are being discriminated against to seek relief regardless of their socioeconomic status.
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 would make sure that I looked at each case individually. I do not believe in the "one size fits all" approach. I would also try to conduct hearings, if possible, to make sure that I had all the facts before I made a decision.
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 would make sure the record of the case is clean and clear on the procedure which the case is dismissed or otherwise resolved. I would also try to make sure that the person had all the necessary documentation regarding their case before they left the courtroom.
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 have to follow the law.
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, I will be proactive instead of reactive. I would like to team up with schools in North Las Vegas and give civic lessons to students so that they are educated and make sure they have a true understanding of the law and the real consequences of the law. I think that information is power and if you know better you do better.
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 think the most important issue or problem in the state's justice system today is there is culture of practice rather than policy and procedure, ie. "this is the way things have always been done." I will address this problem by ensuring a new and fresh perspective in on the bench.
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 we need more resources and diversionary programs to ensure that the communities needs are met.
What value does cash bail bring to Nevada’s judicial system?
Cash bail is one of the many mechanisms in Nevada's judicial system to ensure that an individual accused of a crime comes back to court for future court dates and will not pose a danger to the community. Recently, the Nevada Supreme Court ordered significant limits on cash bail. The Court ordered that the lower courts must conduct a hearing to address a person's custody status and if cash bail is ordered that the person's ability to make cash bail is taken into consideration. As a Justice of the Peace I will ensure that cash bail is not a defacto detainer.
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 individuals with marijuana possession convictions should be vacated.