JUDGE DOUG SMITH
Doug Smith says his personal background began when he was about seven years old and his mother taught him how to use a clothes washing machine. His mother knew it was important to teach him how to survive since she had been recently diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). She passed away when Smith turned 11 years old. By the time he was 13, he was basically on his own. His father was an alcoholic. Smith graduated from Moses Lake High School, served a two-year mission for his church, and then went on to attend Brigham Young University, graduating in 1979. He never received any assistance from family and often worked two jobs to get through school. He decided to attend law school and went to Whittier College School of Law for two years, finishing up as a visiting student at J. Rueben Clark Law School. As a first year law student, Smith went to school from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. He was one of the only first-year law students to work as a law library assistant. He then worked in Hollywood as a theatre house manager from 6 p.m. till 1 a.m. It took Smith 45 minutes to get home and he was off to school at 5 a.m. again. He could not afford to pay rent while attending law school, so he lived for two years in a horse tack room without running water. Smith passed the Utah bar and came to Las Vegas to work for the Clark County Public Defenders office, but in 1982 there was a county cutback so Smith went to work for Jack Purcell Charted, a small two-attorney law office. Nine months later, he was hired by the Public Defender’s Office and worked there for about three years. He then was hired by the Clark County District Attorney’s Office and, except for a brief period working for Bill Terry doing a variety of legal work, Smith served in the DA’s office for about seven years. In 1983, he was admitted to the Federal District Court for Nevada. In 1986, Smith attended the Berkley Law School and was certified in Advanced Trial Advocacy Skills by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Smith is licensed to practice law in Nevada, Utah, and Montana. In 1986, he was qualified and certified to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
Smith has been married for 28 years to Las Vegas native Kelly Brown and they have 3 sons. His wife's grandmother was a member of the 31ers coming to Las Vegas in 1931 to help build the dam. He is active in church, scouting, and coaching Little League.
In 1983, Doug Smith was hired by the Clark County Public Defender, but due to a county financial cutback he was forced to seek other employment opportunities. He worked at a small boutique firm doing criminal defense and civil work. Smith really wanted courtroom experience, and nine months later the Public Defender’s Office became available, so Smith went to work for them defending individuals’ rights for about three years. He tried about 18 felony jury trials ranging from Possession of Controlled Substances to Capital Murder. After his personal vehicle was burglarized, Smith lost the desire to be a Public Defender and was hired by the Clark County District Attorney, where he prosecuted cases ranging from Possession of Controlled Substances to Capital Murder. During his time as a Public Defender and with the District Attorney’s Office, Smith handled or tried countless misdemeanors.
In 1994, Smith ran successfully for the Clark County Justice Court and served the public for nearly three terms.
In 2008, he successfully ran in a contested race for the Eighth Judicial District Court. His calendar is half civil and half criminal.
While in the District Attorney’s Office, he served as a member of the Attorney Discipline Committee for the Nevada State Bar Association. He was also a member of the Speakers Bureau and Public Education Committee for the American Cancer Society in Las Vegas. Smith was a member of the Las Vegas 2000 and Beyond committee serving at the request of the Las Vegas City Manager.
As a judge, Smith served on the Senior Citizen Law Project Board of Directors for a couple of years until the organization became eligible to seek donations, at which time he had to leave the Board because a judge cannot be part of an organization that seeks private donations.
As an attorney, Smith tried approximately 60 felony jury trials to verdict. He has tried or handled hundreds of misdemeanor cases.
As a defense attorney, Smith argued before the 9th Circuit in San Francisco, California.
Probably the most notable case Smith prosecuted was State v. Don Charleboix, the Clark County Constable. He was successful in his prosecution and received a letter of commendation from the then Clark County Sheriff John Moran for the prosecution. He also successfully prosecuted the mayor of Mesquite.
Trials Presided Over:
In the past 21 years as a judge, Smith can only estimate the number of cases he has presided over. He has heard hundreds of misdemeanors trials, approximately 100 criminal jury trials, and 30 to 40 civil jury trials.
Smith attended Pepperdine University Alternative Dispute Resolution School and is certified to conduct mediations. He has mediated approximately 30 or 40 cases throughout the mediation program of the Eighth Judicial District Court.
Work History Qualifications:
A trial court judge handles a variety of civil and criminal cases. This position does not lend itself to an on-the-job training situation. Smith’s experience sets him apart because he brings a unique blend of life experiences and a variety of trial experience on both sides of the law that will benefit the public possess the right experiences to benefit the public as a trial judge.
Previous Election Experience:
Smith ran a successful contested race for Justice of the Peace in 1994. In about 2000, he ran unsuccessfully for the Nevada Supreme Court, and in 2008 Smith ran a successful race for District Court.
Qualities Fit to Serve as a Judge:
The qualities Smith possesses that make him a good judge are his life experiences coupled with his professional experiences. In the criminal arena, Smith knows the methods and procedures for both sides of a trial.
Around 1991, Smith ordered a property owner in court to return a renter’s property. A fight broke out in the open door of the courtroom as the parties were leaving. Smith held a hearing as a result, and two people ended up in jail on a civil case. Instead of appealing the Court’s order, the parties complained to the Judicial Ethics Board. Following a trial, Smith was acquitted of any wrongdoing.
To Speed the Process & Minimize Case Delays:
Judge Doug Smith said, “The trial court can help litigants feel they are getting prompt service by the system if the judge is willing to go to trial and give the litigants a full day in court. I make sure that no decision on a pre-trial motion takes more than two days for the court to render its decision. I try to give the parties ample time to appeal my decision or get ready for trial. During trials, I never take excessive breaks. I try never to impinge on the litigants’ nor on the jury’s time. I move parties along at a fairly prompt pace but still give the parties ample time to present their respective positions to the jury.”
Christine was born and raised on Staten Island, New York. She received a bachelor’s degree from New York University with a major in history and a minor in physics. While at NYU, Christine had the opportunity to spend a semester in Beijing, China studying at Beijing University – Beijing Language Institute where she studied Mandarin Chinese and Chinese history. Beijing had a transformative effect on Christine imbuing her with an abiding respect for the United States Constitution and its judicial system.
Ms. Guerci-Nyhus graduated cum laude from New York Law School in 1991 and was an Articles Editor for the school’s Journal of Human Rights. After practicing as an attorney for 10 years in New York, Christine and her family moved to Nevada in 2001. She took and passed the Nevada Bar in 2002 and has been practicing in Nevada for 12 years. In 2012, Ms. Guerci-Nyhus attended and completed Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation.
Christine has been married for over 20 years to Kjell Nyhus and they have two children – Matthew and Camilla.
Christine currently serves the people of the state of Nevada as a Deputy Attorney General providing legal counsel to the Taxicab Authority Board, the Mortgage Lending Division and prosecuting loan modification cases as well as mortgage broker cases. She was appointed the Interim City Attorney for the City of Henderson Nevada in 2011. In that capacity, she provided legal representation to the City Council, the City Manager and advised on all aspects of city government. As the Senior Assistant City Attorney, she managed the civil division attorneys and support staff as well as providing legal representation to the Redevelopment Agency, the Office of the City Clerk, Economic Development and Property Management Divisions. Christine negotiated numerous complex transactions as well as litigated land use and business licensing matters.
Before joining Henderson, Christine was appointed by Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto to serve as the Chief Deputy Attorney General for the Bureau of Public Affairs as well as the acting Southern Regional Chief Deputy Attorney General. In that capacity, she oversaw the work of 82 attorneys in three divisions who represented Nevada state clients including the Departments of Business and Industry, Health and Human Services, Public Safety, and Taxation. Christine was instrumental in the development of in house training programs for state agency personnel, boards and commissions, and deputy attorneys general, personally teaching numerous courses. She has worked as a transactional and litigation attorney and is known for successfully defending the voter-approved 2006 Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act and for developing the injunctive procedure used to prohibit Dr. Deepak Desai from practicing medicine.
She began her legal career working as in house counsel for Ernst & Young, LLC defending accountants and auditors. While her children were small, she ran her own law practice concentrating on real estate transactions, personal injury and criminal defense.
Cashing in on Redevelopment; Nevada Lawyer, Vol. 18 Issue 6, June 2013
Liability of Independent Accountant to Investors or Shareholders, 48 A.L.R.5th 389 (1997) (cited by E. Dickerson & Son, Inc. v. Ernst & Young, 361 N.J.Super. 362 (2003); Murphy v. BDO Seidman, 6 Cal.Rptr.3d 770 (2003); Arthur Andersen v. Superior Court, 79 Cal.Rptr.2d 879 (1998))
Vicarious Liability of Attorney for Acts of Associated Counsel, 35 A.L.R.5th 717 (1996) (cited by ABA/BNA Lawyers Manual on Professional Conduct 301:1001, Avoiding Malpractice)
Public Records Act Litigation, Law Seminars International, Program Co-Chair, October 2013
Think Before You Post – Professional Ethics and Social Media,
Clark County Bar Association, March 2014
State Bar of Nevada, Continuing Legal Education, December 2013
State Bar of Nevada, Nevada Government Civil Attorneys Conference, May 2013
Who is the Client? – State Bar of Nevada, Nevada Government Civil Attorneys Conference, May 2010
Open Meeting Law – City of Henderson Annual Board and Commission Member Training 2010, 2011 and 2012
Ms. Guerci-Nyhus has been counsel in several trials in New York as a criminal defense attorney as well as counsel for personal injury plaintiffs.
In Nevada, Christine has prosecuted hundreds of administrative actions before Hearing Officers, Boards and Commissions. Christine has handled numerous civil matters in Nevada with extensive motion practice and has argued before the Nevada Supreme Court.
Desire to Run for Judicial Seat:
We need a change in District Court Department 8. Our community must have smart experienced judges to make our judicial system top notch. To diversify our economy, we need more businesses to start up or relocate to Las Vegas. One of the factors businesses look at is the quality of the judiciary and the court system.
The incumbent in Department 8 has had over 30 reversals in his first term as a District Court Judge - making mistakes on basic procedural issues and violating individual's constitutional rights.
It is essential that the judge in Department 8 is experienced in criminal, civil and business issues, shows respect for the Constitution and applies the law in a fair manner.
Work History Qualifications:
Previous Election Experience:
This is Christine’s first run for office.
Qualities Fit to Serve as a Judge:
Christine is smart, fair and honest. She has a strong respect for the Constitution and the judicial system. She will apply the law in an evenhanded and unbiased manner. Christine has a calm but tough personality and will conduct her courtroom in a professional manner, where every individual is treated with respect and courtesy.
Guerci-Nyhus has not been subject to discipline by the bar.
To Speed Process & Minimize Case Delays:
Ms. Guerci-Nyhus will ensure that cases and decisions are handled in a timely matter. She will make effective use of docket scheduling and issue decisions as soon as possible. Christine will be prepared and have read the filings in the matters brought before her.