Who are the candidates for Judge Sparks in the 2020 primary?

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Judicial elections often don’t have many candidates unless the previously elected judge runs again – such is the case of the Sparks Municipal Court Judge in Department 1.

The nonpartisan position, which presides over trafficking and criminal offenses cases, had been held by Justice Barbara McCarthy, who retired in January. Sparks Mayor Ed Lawson nominated Shirle Eiting of the city attorney’s office to fill the position.

Four candidates are currently vying for the position: Eiting, along with Washoe County Assistant District Attorney Robert DeLong, Washoe County Public Defender Tobin Fuss, and Washoe County Assistant District Attorney Alison Ormas.

The top two voters in the primary will advance to the general election in November unless a candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, in which case that person would be declared elected.

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The court has big changes coming: traffic citations will be civil rather than criminal, bail amounts are changing, and jury trials will be required in some cases, which were not previously done at Sparks Municipal Court. . The latter came after the Nevada Supreme Court determined that the home battery cases, which make up a large part of the Sparks’ court docket, require a jury trial if a plea bargain is not reached to obtain a conviction.

Below is a brief comparison of the candidates, including their answers to two questions. For more complete profiles of each, read more about DeLong here, Eiting here, Fuss here and Ormaas here.

Robert DeLong is running for judge of the Sparks Municipal Court in Department 1.
  • Age: 42
  • Party Affiliation: non-partisan
  • Family situation: married with three children
  • day job: Assistant District Attorney in the Washoe County Attorney’s Office
  • Education: full bachelor’s degree in liberal arts (“the equivalent of a major in philosophy with a minor in mathematics”) and JD degree in law
  • How long have you lived in Sparks: Cumulatively 33 years
  • Legal experience: commercial litigation for a regional law firm, worked in the Nevada Attorney General’s Office and is currently in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office
Shirle Eiting is a candidate for judge of the Municipal Court of Sparks in Department 1.
  • Age: 58
  • Party Affiliation: democrat
  • Family situation: married for 32 years with a daughter
  • day job: Sparks Municipal Court Judge
  • Education: bachelor’s degree in accounting and JD in law
  • How long have you lived in Sparks: 32 years old
  • Legal experience: lawyer for 34 years
Tobin Fuss is running for judge of the Sparks Municipal Court in Department 1.
  • Age: 58
  • Party Membership: Democrat
  • Family situation: married with two children
  • day job: Washoe County Public Defender
  • Education: degree in history, JD in law
  • How long have you lived in Sparks: 15 years
  • Legal experience: Washoe County Public Defender for 25 years
Alison Ormaas is a candidate for judge of the Municipal Court of Sparks in Department 1.
  • Age: 45
  • Party Affiliation: democrat
  • Family situation: Married with two children, aged 13 and 15
  • day job: Assistant District Attorney in the Washoe County Attorney’s Office
  • Education: bachelor’s degrees in international studies and French; JD Law Degree
  • How long have you lived in Sparks: 17 years
  • Legal experience: Assistant Reno City Attorney, Assistant Washoe County Attorney, Constitutional Law and Courtroom Behavior Instructor at Northern Nevada Law Enforcement Academy

Why are you looking for this position?

Long : I think I am more qualified than any of the other candidates based on my experience and my time as a prosecutor. I’m one of the few candidates to have had a jury trial. I believe my experience as a civil litigator will help guide the court through this process, and my experience as a felony criminal prosecutor will be invaluable in the jury trials that come before the court in the lawsuits for impaired driving and domestic assault.

Editing : I did criminal defense. I continued for several years. And then while I was at the city of Sparks, I had the opportunity to work with all the different departments as the city’s chief assistant district attorney. We have a lot of changes coming to court…(and) my wide variety of legal backgrounds and my experience with the City of Sparks, I believe, will be a huge bonus for the court going forward.

Fidget: I’ve been appointed public defender, and I think we need more defense attorneys and public defenders on the bench, which is usually dominated by prosecutors. I bring 25 years of criminal and juvenile experience to this position. I understand both victims and defendants and will be impartial and compassionate in trying to make the decision as fair as possible.

Ormas: The municipal court judge has been my goal for 10 years. I have been a prosecutor for 16 years and I love being able to make a difference in our community. Safety is so important, and holding people accountable for their actions is so important. Advocating for victims’ rights is one of the things I’ve really enjoyed as a prosecutor all this time, and I think that by becoming a judge, I can have an even greater impact in the community.

What is your philosophy in handling cases involving homeless people?

Long : People must be held accountable for their actions. Once they’ve paid off their debt to society, the court can make sure they don’t re-offend, that they get help – whether it’s addiction, housing or counseling – to try to give them the tools not to reoffend.

Editing : Much depends on the underlying reason these people are homeless. You have to try to structure sentencing so that it holds people accountable for their actions, helps the community feel comfortable that we’re taking the appropriate action and giving the appropriate sentences, but also tries to help people not to come back.

Fidget: My philosophy will try to weigh the harm and harm done to the victim while trying to help the defendant the best I can, whether it’s providing drug treatment, probation, or health rehabilitation mental if necessary.

Ormas: One of the two main visions I have for Sparks Municipal Court is to create an additional specialty court. We can create so much positive change, not just for the offender, but for our entire community when we address the underlying issues such as mental health, addictions and lack of resources that often bring people into the justice system. criminal justice. Specialized courts can be extremely effective; they reduce recidivism, save money and save lives. I saw it first hand. It’s a missing piece of the municipal court puzzle right now.

Mark Robison covers local government for the Reno Gazette-Journal, as well as Fact Checker and Ask the RGJ articles. Its position is supported by donations and grants. As such, all the journalism it publishes will be made available free of charge without concern for commercial return. If you would like to see more articles like this, please consider sharing this article or donating at RGJ.com/donate.

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