Ethics cases advance

Nevada’s Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics has okayed the use of official stationary and staffers by elected judges to send out thank you notes to jurors in cases in their courts. The ethics panel kept the name of the judge at issue secret.

In a related case, the Nevada Ethics Commission has given the go-ahead to a probe of the conduct of Washoe County District Attorney Richard Gammick in allegedly using his official office space, equipment, employees and county-issued vehicle to benefit his reelection campaign this year. The complaint against Gammick was filed by Chris Wedge, campaign manager for Gammick’s reelection opponent Roger Whomes.

A review of documents, photos and witnesses—including Gammick himself—convinced the commission that “sufficient cause exists” for commissioners to take up the case, which will probably be heard in February. At issue will be a PowerPoint presentation Gammick gave to a community group and a tailgating party at the University of Nevada, Reno.

In 2006, Gammick used his office to campaign against Ballot Question 7, which would have provided for regulation of marijuana, in spite of a state law mandating that “a public officer or employee shall not request or otherwise cause a governmental entity to incur an expense or make an expenditure to support or oppose: (a) A ballot question. (b) A candidate.” Gammick said at the time that he interpreted the law to mean that the statute applies only to the use of public funds for political advertising.