Dedree “Dee” Butler began her legal career practicing family law and insurance defense. She’s been a Clark County public defender for the last 10 years, including two with the juvenile delinquency unit in Family Court.
“I’m the team chief of the DV unit,” she says. “Our clients can’t afford to hire an attorney. They just need help filling out the forms.”
Butler says 70 percent of litigants in Family Court represent themselves and she hopes to make justice more accessible.
“The resources should be written out and accessible to everyone,” she says. “The clients have to Google or talk to an attorney just to figure out the resources. On the criminal side we have forms ready to go with all the resources that are available.”
“From there we need to have people who can help them with documents — agencies that offer counseling free of charge,” she says.
Butler also says she’ll ensure that litigants subject to court-ordered evaluations have the ability to pay or find alternative resources.
“Psychological evaluations can go into thousands of dollars. That’s why cases are on hold for so long,” she says. “People end up accept what they can get without an evaluation.”
Butler says she never considered running for judge.
“The judges I appear before encouraged me to run because I care for people. I want everyone to have access to justice and be prepared,” she says. “My clients are terrified to go into Family Court. After seeing that, I thought ‘Why sit back and complain when I would at least treat people with dignity and respect, which which is the bare minimum for a judge.”
“I’m also a mom of three,” she says, adding she began representing herself in divorce court. “I’ll never forget what it was like to stand in that space before judges who control how often you’ll see your children.”
Butler says her opponent lacks the trial experience she’s gained, representing more than 3,000 clients in criminal court.
She’s raised $47,509 and has just under $323 on hand.
Her opponent, J. Scott MacDonald did not respond to requests for an interview.
MacDonald raised $88,697 and had $10,405 on hand as of October 15.
MacDonald’s website says he spent three years in the Clark County District Attorney’s Office prosecuting juvenile crime and more than 30 years in private practice in the areas of divorce, custody, guardianship, financial reorganization and estate planning.