Less than an hour before he was to preside over one of Douglas County's infrequent murder trials, District Judge Dave Gamble was at the county clerk's office Monday to file for election to a fifth term.
"I think this job is exactly what I was designed to do," Gamble said. "I feel like I found a real niche in District Court where I can simplify litigation and avoid litigation in many cases, or at least shorten it."
First elected in 1986, Gamble, 57, said he still enjoys coming to work every day.
"After practicing law for 10 years, I realized I would rather be an arbiter than an advocate," he said. "I try to resolve cases in different ways. Many, many kinds of cases can be resolved without extensive litigation, and I have the ability to properly litigate those cases that need to be litigated."
Gamble said the Douglas County court system has fewer trials than when he first was elected because of his willingness to spend extra time settling cases.
"It brings me joy to get people willing to settle things, especially in family law, by agreement rather than litigation," Gamble said.
His goals for the next six-year term include creating permanent funding for the youth detention facilities at China Spring for boys and Aurora Pines for girls.
"We need a permanent system so we don't have to keep going back to the Legislature to justify our existence," he said. "Those programs at China Spring and Aurora Pines are valuable to all of Northern Nevada. Judges and juvenile probation officers love the work being done for boys and girls in those facilities. It's been a wonderful benefit for kids."
Another project is a free-standing juvenile detention, treatment and probation facility that some day may be part of a separate family court facility.
"That would be in part a cooperative venture with several counties and free up jail space at the Lake," Gamble said.
Douglas County's juvenile offenders currently are housed in a separate section of the Stateline jail while they await court hearings and placement in juvenile facilities.
Gamble said he would continue to champion Douglas County's Court-Appointed Special Advocate program which provides trained adult volunteers as independent advocates for children in juvenile, custody and divorce cases.
"I want to make sure it stays in place and grows. It's a great protection for children and gives us an unbiased advocate for kids. I think we have the best CASA program anywhere in Nevada for sure," he said.
Gamble said he wanted to increase special services for female juvenile offenders.
"We need for girls the same services we needed for boys. When I came on in 1986, female juvenile offenses were rare. Now, it's the single, fastest growing area of juvenile criminal activity."
Nevada's district judges receive a base salary of $130,000 until next January when the base climbs to $160,000.