Former Judge William Gonzalez was appointed to the Family Court bench in 2009 by then-Gov. Jim Gibbons. He was elected in 2010, lost his bid for re-election in 2014 and is seeking a newly created seat.
Gonzalez, who was admitted to the Nevada Bar in 1997, has an error rate of 36.36 percent out of 48 cases appealed, according to Our Nevada Judges.
Gonzalez has raised $79,851 and has nothing left. He did not respond to requests for an interview.
Dawn Throne says she’s represented clients “in all areas of Family Law” for 23 years and is one of 48 Nevada attorneys certified as a Family Law specialist. She’s also served as a pro tem hearing master on matters involving protective orders.
Throne has raised $155,426 and has $5,089 in the bank.
She’s running for the bench “because we need good judges in Family Court. We have some good ones and some are not.”
Throne cites her breadth of experience as a qualification for the bench, having worked on civil cases, bankruptcy, contract disputes, personal injury, estate and probate law, as well as “every kind of family law.”
She says she’s represented people with high financial stakes as well as “people who have nothing to fight over but access to their children.”
Throne says she’s best suited for divorce and custody cases but has the experience to take on guardianship or abuse and neglect cases.
“You’ve got to set the tone as the judge. Litigants are very scared,” she says. “If they have a judge who starts screaming, that’s not helpful.”
She declined to identify the judges she calls “the yellers.”
“Unfortunately, we have some who have issues with their temperaments,” she says. “We have some judges who have a problem with a party not having an attorney.”
Throne says she would take time to explain the process and let litigants know they “should try to come to an agreement by themselves or we’ll have a trial.”
Throne cites a lack of consistency among Family Court rulings.
“Outcomes on alimony and child custody depend on what judge you get,” she says. “We’ll have 26 different policies next year.”
Throne says she’d like to see mediation, which is reserved for custody matters, expanded to financial issues.
“Budgets are being cut. Court staff is being cut. Delays are bad now,” she says of trials being scheduled next spring. “We’re going to need judges over there who work together and can be creative to move cases through the system.”
Throne says her opponent, Gonzalez, is a “nice guy. He wasn’t a yeller. He was just overwhelmed with the decisions and the responsibility.”