The Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection sent Governor Brian Sandoval three names for consideration to fill the open judicial seat in Dept. 1 of the Second Judicial District Court in Reno created by the retirement of Judge Janet J. Berry.
The nominees were selected following interviews by the Commission June 19 at the Nevada Supreme Court in Carson City.
The selected judge will run for election in 2018 to serve the remaining two years of the judicial term.
The Commission’s three nominees for Dept. 1, in alphabetical order, are:
- Wesley Ayres, 57, Reno, Second Judicial District Court
- Kathleen Drakulich, 56, Reno, McDonald Carano
- James Keller, 45, Reno, United States Attorney Office (Dept. 4)
A total of six attorneys submitted applications for the open judicial seat. Only attorneys with 10 years of legal experience, two of those in Nevada, were eligible to apply.
In selecting the finalists, the Commission conducted background investigations and considered the applicants’ answers during the interview. Each applicant provided comprehensive applications about education, law practice, business involvement, community involvement, and professional and personal conduct. The Commission also considered letters of reference and public statements during the interview process.
Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection
The Commission is composed of seven permanent members – the Supreme Court Chief Justice, three non-attorneys appointed by the Governor, and three attorneys appointed by the State Bar of Nevada.
Neither the Governor nor the State Bar may appoint more than two permanent members from the same political party, and cannot appoint two members from the same county.
- Justice Michael A. Cherry, Carson City, Supreme Court Chief Justice, Chair (Constitutional appointee)
- Valerie Cooney, Carson City, past executive director, Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans (State Bar appointee)
- Jeffrey Gilbert, Henderson, veteran gaming executive (Governor appointee)
- Jesse Gutierrez, Sparks, former executive director, Nevada Hispanic Services (Governor appointee)
- Gregory Kamer, Esq., Las Vegas, attorney, Kramer Zuker Abbott (State Bar appointee)
- Jasmine Mehta, Esq., Reno, Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners (State Bar appointee)
- Leslie Williams, Schurz, administrative assistant for Washoe County Senior Services (Governor appointee)
For District Court vacancies, two temporary members are appointed from the judicial district where the vacancy occurs – a non-attorney by the Governor and an attorney by the State Bar – bringing the Commission membership to nine.
Governor Sandoval appointed John Trent, Senior Editor, News & Features, at the University of Nevada, Reno Office of Marketing and Communications.
The State Bar of Nevada appointed Mary Kay Bickett, the former chief executive officer of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.