Incumbent Judge Rob Bare and Las Vegas attorney Christy Craig are vying for the judgeship in District Court Department 32 in the upcoming November election.
Bare has served as a judge for nearly 10 years — since the inception of Department 32 in 2011. Prior to his position on the bench, Bare served four years as a trial lawyer for the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps. He then moved to Las Vegas in 1993 and spent 17 years as counsel to the State Bar of Nevada, where he prosecuted attorney discipline cases.
The most important aspects of serving as a judge are the ability to deal with members of the public — both litigants and the jury — and experience, Bare said. With almost a decade of experience, Bare said he has evolved and learned to deal with circumstances that arise in the court to ensure a fair outcome. If re-elected, Bare said he will continue to use this experience to efficiently offer fair judgements.
On his campaign website, Bare included multiple notes from jurors who expressed gratitude for the way Bare ran his courtroom fairly to both sides.
“When litigants leave my courtroom for the last time, they have a look of ‘That was the way oughta be,’ and that makes me feel great,” Bare said.
Bare is also involved in community service projects, including coaching the Advanced Technologies Academy mock trial team for five years. He has been endorsed by District Attorney Steve Wolfson, the Fraternal Order of Police and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, among others.
Craig has worked in the Clark County Public Defender’s office since 1998, becoming a team chief in 2004 and ultimately moving to the capital defense unit where she defended capital and non-capital murder cases for 11 years.
While in the public defender’s office, Craig worked as chief of the systemic litigation team, through which she argued a case for changes to the bail system that resulted in a landmark ruling in the Nevada Supreme Court in April. She also helped create and worked extensively in the Las Vegas Municipal Court mental health court program.
Craig said she decided to run for a judgeship because most justices currently serving in District Court have civil trial experience, but few have criminal trial experience. She said a variation of skill is necessary for an effective court system.
“I want to run an efficient, consistent and fair courtroom — making sure the courtroom is on time and everybody is prepared and ready to go so trials are done efficiently and done right,” Craig said.
She added that judging cases in the overflow calendar, made up of cases other judges are too busy to take on, would also be a priority of hers to ensure the smooth operation of the court system. Craig has been endorsed by labor union SEIU Nevada Local 1107, the Nevada Republican Club and Las Vegas Spectrum.
In the absence of jury trials due to the coronavirus, Bare said he has been able to spend more time on settlement conferences to settle cases. He added that until there is a vaccine available, it would be “too dangerous” to invite the public into courtrooms to serve on juries.
Should she be elected, Craig said she would participate in conversations about methods to reintroduce jury trials safely, including possibly remodeling a courtroom to place plexiglass between each juror and maintain social distancing.