Election 2012: Challenger says law enforcement career qualifies him for bench | RecordCourier.com

Election 2012: Challenger says law enforcement career qualifies him for bench

by Sheila Gardner

A 497693

As East Fork justice of the peace, candidate Wayne Fazzino said he would put the township’s safety first, and use the court to address the increase in crime and the breakdown of the family.

Fazzino, 59, is a special investigator with the Nevada attorney general’s office. He has 36 years in law enforcement investigating all types of crimes including elder abuse, child abuse, financial crimes and public integrity.

Nevada justice courts are limited jurisdiction, created by statute. The court hears criminal matters (which include traffic violations), small claims, evictions and civil matters up to $10,000. Justice court also issues temporary and extended protective orders against domestic violence and/or stalking and harassment.

The Wildhorse resident said his goal is to restore justice court to a nonlawyer judge, as permitted by the Nevada Legislature.

He is running against Tom Perkins, a lawyer, who was appointed to the court in 2010 by Douglas County commissioners.

Fazzino also applied for the job in 2010.

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The successful candidate will serve for six years.

“This is the people’s court,” Fazzino said in a recent interview. “It’s their right to have that – to control their court.”

Prior to Perkins’ appointment, Fazzino said East Fork never had a lawyer serve as judge.

“He (Perkins) is knowledgeable about the law, but I think I far exceed him on human nature,” Fazzino said.

Because of his background and training, Fazzino said he is up-to-date on criminal behavior from gang-related offenses to homeland security.

“Because my background is so vast, I have been staying up on every issue,” he said. “I know what’s going on and what’s being done. I have direct access to agencies to help me address matters as justice of the peace.”

Fazzino said his supporters agree the justice of the peace should be a nonlawyer.

“The Nevada Legislature set the requirements so that people have one of their own representing their interests,” Fazzino said. “The Supreme Court backs it up.”

Fazzino said he has visited 8,000 homes in his campaign.

“I am blown away by how nice people are,” he said. “The consensus is we need a stronger law enforcement presence in justice court.”

The judgeship is nonpartisan.

“I’m focused on everybody’s safety, not party politics,” he said.

Fazzino began his investigative career 32 years ago when he was appointed as the county’s first special investigator in the district attorney’s office.

“I am extremely qualified for the job,” he said. “I will do everything in my power to make this a safer community.”

Fazzino said he would like to create outreach programs to address bullying and domestic violence.

“I care about people,” he said. “I am a servant of the people. I will protect you.”

Fazzino said he owes no political favors.

“People will be faceless in my court. I will focus on their actions,” he said.

Fazzino and his wife, Debbie, are raising their granddaughter, Jocelyn, whom they adopted.

He has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the Nevada Narcotics Officers Association and the Nevada State Law Enforcement Officers Association.

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