The Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission has permanently barred Jeffrey Sobel from serving as an elected or appointed judicial officer in Nevada.
The disciplinary ruling also orders the former Clark County District Judge publicly censured for his conduct.
The commission ruled Sobel guilty of ethical violations for questioning a lawyer involved in a case before him about his campaign contributions. Sobel asked why the lawyer contributed to his opponent but not to his re-election campaign and crudely advised him that he was in serious trouble because he didn't contribute and others involved in the case before Sobel did.
The disciplinary ruling said even if Sobel was joking, "the objectively reasonable person would be hard-pressed to detect the existence of anything truly humorous or ethical about what the respondent said and how he said it - particularly during a pre-trial conference in a contested matter."
The disciplinary ruling bars Sobel from ever acting as a commissioner, trial judge, hearing master, referee, juvenile master or settlement judge in Nevada.
It does, however, allow him to be a mediator and arbitrator since any rulings or reports he makes in those cases are reviewed by an active trial judge before taking effect.
The disciplinary opinion was issued this week.
n Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.