Las Vegas Judge Banned For Life After Handcuffing Public Defender
Mar 02, 2017 01:56 PM EST
A Las Vegas judge who handcuffed a public defender almost a year ago is banned from serving as a judge again. He handcuffed the public defender for having the audacity to advocate on the defendant's behalf while he was lathered up to sentence the defendant.
Judge Conrad Hafen's overreaction to the respectful entreaties of public defender Zohra Bakhtary didn't play well with the local electorate who kicked him off the bench in June. Hafen lost his job in the resounding defeat to challenger Amy "JoAnne" Chelini, a defense attorney and former prosecutor, according to Review Journal.
Now, it appears that he's never going to get back on the bench. The Nevada Supreme Court posted a censure order on Monday, banning Hafen from serving as a judge again after he agreed not to contest the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline's punishment recommendation.
According to a court transcript, Hafen warned Bakhtary who kept talking during a hearing while he tried to rule. The judge later ordered Bakhtary to be taken into custody because she wouldn't stop arguing, and he wanted to teach her a lesson about courtroom decorum and etiquette.
Handcuffing Bakhtary drew a public protest from board members of the 105-member Clark County Defenders Union. It also prompted the 150-member Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice to seek sanctions from the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.
Dominic Gentile represented Bakhtary in her contempt case, according to Above The Law. "I think it's unfortunate because he's a good lawyer and he was a really good advocate. But he pretty clearly had difficulty in the role of a judge," Gentile said of Hafen, with and against whom Gentile worked.
Although banishing a judge is rare in Nevada, the commission has previously prohibited a former Las Vegas family court judge from ever returning to the bench after he was convicted and imprisoned in a federal fraud case. Meanwhile, Hafen's law license in Nevada was unaffected by the judicial commission action.