Baucum faces challenger in LV Justice Court race

By: - October 18, 2022 6:24 am

Susan Baucum, Rebecca Saxe

The campaign for Dept. 13 in Las Vegas Justice Court pits chief deputy public defender Rebecca Saxe against longtime Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum

Baucum, who earned her law degree from the University of Idaho, was elected to Justice Court in 2010. 

“For nearly a decade, she oversaw the largest caseload of any DUI Court in the country, and was proud to institute many technologies and programs that not only saved lives, but decreased recidivism,” says Baucum’s website. She did not respond to numerous requests for an interview. 

In 2020, Baucum declined to follow Gov. Steve Sisolak’s request that Clark County stop evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Any type of categorical restriction on evictions should be imposed by Governor Sisolak on a statewide basis, as opposed to being imposed piecemeal by some Justice Courts and not others,” Baucum wrote at the time. 

Last year, Baucum allowed football player Henry Ruggs, who killed a woman and her dog while driving 156 miles an hour, to remain on bail and house arrest after the player failed to immediately provide a remote breath test for alcohol, a condition of his release from custody. 

The Las Vegas Raiders released Ruggs last year after he was charged with four felonies in connection with the incident. His blood alcohol level was .161, according to authorities, above the legal limit in Nevada.

This year, gambler R.J. Cipriani complained Baucum violated his constitutional rights by preventing him from joining a hearing remotely. Baucum issued a no-bail warrant for his failure to appear and allowed District Attorney Steve Wolfson to add robbery and special victim enhancement charges four months after the alleged incident. Weeks later, Wolfson dropped the charges and reduced a cheating charge to disorderly conduct.  

Baucum raised $136,369 and spent $91,749 through September. She is endorsed by a variety of law enforcement organizations including the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, Veterans in Politics International, Laborers International 872, the Southern Nevada Central Labor Council and others. 

Saxe, who is making her first bid for public office, has raised  $72,392 and spent $37,239 through September. She’s endorsed by Culinary Local 226, SEIU Nevada, Association of American Pacific Islanders, Black Independent Voters, Somos PAC, Nevada NOW, the Southern Nevada Building Trades and others.  

“I have spent over a decade fighting for the people in my community and defending the Constitution, first at the ACLU, then as a Chief Deputy Public Defender,” Saxe writes on her website.

Saxe earned her law degrees at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, and clerked for Judge Philip Pro in U.S. District Court after her graduation, according to her website. 

In 2010, she interned at the ACLU of Nevada, where she “analyzed the medical and mental health issues in Nevada’s prisons through the lens of international human rights standards” and “brought awareness to the Nevada prison’s practice of shackling pregnant women during childbirth.”

Saxe did not respond to requests for an interview. 

Baucum received a 54% positive rating from attorneys in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s 2019 Judging the Judges rankings.  

“Judge Baucum has served honorably, but we believe Rebecca Saxe would be an improvement,” the RJ wrote last week in its judicial endorsements. 

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Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.