2020 General Election guide: Nevada Supreme Court Justice, Seat D
Position Sought: Nevada State Supreme Court — Seat D
Occupation: Adjunct Professor at UNLV Boyd School of Law.
Nevada State Assemblyman District 21.
Partner at Pitaro and Fumo, Chtd
Contact: OzzieFumo.com; Ozzie@OzzieFumo.com
Record of service: I am proud to have served two terms in our Nevada State Assembly.
University of San Diego (Bachelor of Business Administration)
Whittier Law School (JD)
My entire professional career has been dedicated to fighting for fairness in our courts, the rights of all Nevadans, and ensuring everybody is treated equally under the law. This is why I am running for Seat D on the Nevada Supreme Court. This seat on our Supreme Court will shape our highest court in the state for the next decade. This seat will define what our court values, what it stands for, and to me, the stakes in this race could not be higher. I am the only candidate in this race who has practiced all areas of law that will come before the Supreme Court. I am the only candidate in this race who has written Nevada law, and the only candidate who teaches law (I am currently an Adj. Prof. of Law at the UNLV Boyd School of Law). All of which, I believe, makes me uniquely qualified to be Nevada’s next Supreme Court Justice.
What makes you the most qualified candidate
Being a Nevada Supreme Court Justice requires a unique set of legal skills. Unlike being a District Court judge—where you are ruling on specific issues between two parties—our Supreme Court is ruling on the law itself. To do this, a Supreme Court Justice should have a comprehensive understanding of three things:
The law and legal theory
The legislative intent behind the law
The practical application of that law in the real world
This is why I believe that I am uniquely qualified to be our next Nevada Supreme Court Justice.
Not only am I familiar with the law and legal theory, I currently teach at the UNLV Boyd School of Law. I have also served multiple terms in our State Legislature which gives me firsthand experience with legislative intent. In fact, language I’ve written in legislative session has already been reflected in our Supreme Court rulings. Additionally, as a 24 year veteran of our trial courts—including being one of the few in the state who has tried death penalty cases—I know the practical impact of what a verdict can mean to a family and a community. I have experience in every area of law that will come before our Nevada Supreme Court.
In contrast, my opponent in this race does not have the experience I have, nor can he claim the wide range of endorsements I have received from across the state; including the court marshals who serve alongside our judges every day, the courtroom staff who keep our courts functioning at a high level, and over two dozen additional organizations statewide.
Frankly, given his behavior as a prosecutor who knowingly sent an innocent man to jail for 21 years, and as a District Court judge who has been overruled by our Nevada Supreme Court multiple times in just the last year, including an instance where he, “manifestly abused [his] discretion” (see: Gathrite v. Eighth Judicial Court of Nevada), I believe my opponent has disqualified himself for this position.
My entire professional career has been dedicated to ensuring fairness under the law and I feel very strongly about our state’s highest court. I believe we should hold our Supreme Court Justices to the highest standards. As our next Nevada Supreme Court Justice, I will continue my commitment to fairness, no matter where they are from or how much money they have. Because I believe Lady Justice is blind, and that all of us deserve to be treated fairly and ethically under the law.
Douglas W. Herndon
Justice, Nevada Supreme Court, Seat D
Occupation: Chief Judge, Homicide Case Team, Eighth Judicial District Court
Facebook: Judge Herndon
Record of Service:
District Court Judge – Eighth Judicial District Court, Department 3 – 2005 – present
Appointed by Governor Kenny Guinn in 2005
Retained and then re-elected in 2006, 2008 and 2014
Chief Judge, Homicide Case Team – 2017 – present
Chief Judge, Criminal Division – 2009 – 2017
Civil Criminal District Court Judge – 2005 – 2009
State Administration of Justice Commission
State Indigent Defense Commission
State Criminal Procedure Commission
State Commission on Evidence Based Pre-Trial Release
Clark County District Attorney’s Office – 1990 – 2005
Chief Deputy District Attorney – Head of Special Victim’s Unit – 1998 – 2005
Chief Deputy District Attorney – Special Victim’s Unit – 1996 – 1998
Deputy District Attorney – 1992 – 1995
Appellate Law Clerk – Nov. 1990 – 1991
The Rape Crisis Center – Instructor – 1998 – present
UNLV, Boyd School of Law – Trial Advocacy Judge – 2009 – present
Creator and Administrator, Grade School Mock Trial Program – 2010 – present
Shade Tree Shelter
Youth Club Soccer / Club Softball Coach – 2004 – 2012
Board of Trustees – The Meadows School – 2009 – present
Washington and Lee University School of Law, Lexington, VA, Juris Doctor 1990
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, Bachelor of Science 1986
When it comes to the Nevada Supreme Court, I believe that experience, maybe now more than ever, is critical. It’s an incredibly busy and complex court that oversees our state’s trial courts and handles everything from litigation surrounding rural water rights, to matters involving ballot initiatives and the constitutionality of laws enacted by our legislature.
Simply put, the Nevada Supreme Court is not a training ground. Rather, our state’s highest court should be populated by experienced judges who have made the sacrifice to become trial court judges, who have dedicated themselves to learning what it means to be a great judge and who have devoted themselves to that process for a lengthy period of time so that they can produce a record of judicial excellence that the public can rely on in entrusting them to a position on the Nevada Supreme Court.
Moreover, judicial office and politics do not mix. Judge should not be politicians skilled at representing special interests and pursuing individual agendas; rather, judges must be fair and impartial arbiters who are free of conflict and who have a demonstrated independence and ability to make the difficult decisions necessary to preserve justice in our state.
What makes you the most qualified candidate
I am the only judge in the race for Seat D and I have been a District Court Judge for 15 years. I am currently the Chief Judge of our court’s Homicide Case Team, which I created in 2017 to serve a critical need in Clark County. Previously, I was the Chief Judge of our Criminal Division from 2008-2017. In these roles, I have been actively involved in the administration of our court system and have worked closely with the Nevada Supreme Court on issues related to improving our state’s trial court system.
During my time on the bench, I’ve handled every type of complicated civil and criminal case that our court system sees. I have been a top rated judge for 15 consecutive years and in 2019, I had the highest performance rating in our District Court. I am also the only sitting judge in Nevada who has presided over trials in both Northern and Southern Nevada. In 2006, I was appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court to preside over the Washoe County trial, State of Nevada versus Darren Mack. Mr. Mack had murdered his wife and attempted to kill the Family Court Judge who was presiding over his divorce.
Prior to becoming a judge, I served for 14 years in the District Attorney’s Office where I was the Head of the Special Victim’s Unit, specializing in prosecuting crimes involving the physical and sexual abuse, and murder, of women and children. I tried cases in our trial courts and our family courts, wrote legislation to better protect our most vulnerable citizens and argued cases in front of the Nevada Supreme Court several times a year. My opponent is, conversely, a state politician who has never been a judge at any level and has never argued a case in front of the Nevada Supreme Court.
I am honored to have the statewide support of our law enforcement agencies, and elected Sheriffs and District Attorneys, among others. And I am blessed to have bipartisan support from great Nevada leaders such as former Governor Brian Sandoval, former Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa and former Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice William Maupin.
My wife, Carrie, and I met 34 years ago, in college. We’ve lived in Nevada for 30 years now and have raised our two daughters here. Our oldest, Kaitlyn, is pursuing her Masters Degree and our youngest, Emily Grace, is a sophomore in college studying Neuroscience.
I always bring to the bench a sense of humility about the job I’m blessed to do and I have a tremendous work ethic. I’ve been working since I was 12 years old and I’ve cleaned bathrooms, worked as a busboy and in construction. I appreciate what it means to give people an honest day’s work for the trust and faith they place in you. Each day, I try to be a better person and a better judge and I promise to be a justice that the people can trust and be proud of.