KNPR

Judge Complaint Raises Question: Why No Recording In The Courtroom?

A Las Vegas justice of the peace has come under scrutiny by a group of defense attorneys who filed a complaint against him this week.

Recently, Justice of the Peace Conrad Hafen ordered bailiffs to handcuff a Clark County public defender in his courtroom. Hafen was having a back-and-forth with attorney Zohra Bakhtary as she argued about the fate of her client.

Lori Teicher, a federal public defender and board member of the Nevada Attorneys For Criminal Justice, said in more than 20 years as a lawyer in Nevada, she had never seen a lawyer handcuffed.

Teicher said Bakhtary was simply trying to advocate for her client and Hafen was not letting her. 

“I do not feel what occurred here that placing a deputy public defender in handcuffs was at all warranted,” she said.

This week, Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice filed a complaint about Hafen's actions with the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.

A week ago, the Clark County Defender’s Union called Hafen’s actions “wrong.”

During the argument with Bakhtary, recording equipment in the court was turned off. Teicher said judges are allowed the right to turn off that equipment in favor of human court reporters. 

Teicher said judges are allowed to turn off that equipment because no courthouse rule exists saying they have to turn it on. However, she believes it is time to change that rule.

Support comes from

“I certainly think it’s time in this day and age that we move towards using what that expensive system was put in place for,” Teicher said.  

 

Guests

Lori Teicher, federal public defender, board member of the Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

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