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Small Town Nevada Judge to Fight 11 Disciplinary Charges

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A lawyer for a small town judge now suspended after 17 years on the bench said Wednesday he’ll challenge the authority of a state oversight panel accusing his client of abuse of judicial power.

Goodsprings Township Justice of the Peace Dawn Haviland isn’t guilty of 11 disciplinary charges lodged against her by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, attorney Al Marquis said. Marquis said he’ll seek dismissal of the charges, filed March 1.

He said he intends to argue the commission does not have jurisdiction to act against a judge for “declaring or applying the law in the course of official duties,” or while exercising “judicial or administrative discretion.”

Haviland was suspended in December with pay from her job as the only local judge in Goodsprings, a town of about 200 residents about 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas.

She could face a range of sanctions ranging from a public apology to banishment from the bench if she is found guilty of conduct that included sealing the criminal records of her daughter’s then-husband and ordering court staff to conduct illegal criminal records searches.

Haviland signed off on sealing records involving her son-in-law after neither side objected in a case that Haviland had stepped away from handling because it involved a family member, Marquis said.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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