Two Las Vegas attorneys are vying to replace Judge Martin Hastings, who decided not to run for re-election in Las Vegas Municipal Court Department 6. Hastings retired earlier this year, and Shannon Nordstrom currently serves as the interim judge but is not running for seat.
Criminal defense attorney Angela Dows and deputy city attorney Kelly Giordani are squaring off for the judgeship.
Dows is a local attorney and serves as a pro tempore judge – essentially a substitute or part-time judge – for the court. She said that experience would be paramount to her success if elected, because she feels she’s already well-suited for the role.
Dows said she’s looked for an opportunity to get more involved with the court, and felt this was the right situation.
“It was really the best meeting of my experience plus my mentality and outlook,” she said. “So it just really was a great fit. So I thought about the opportunity and waited for one to arise. And this seemed like the best opportunity to run this year.”
If elected, she wants to increase the use of technology in the court. Dows is hearing-impaired and wants to make sure the court is accessible as it can be for everyone who comes in.
“I think I have a unique experience because I’m hearing impaired and have been since my childhood,” she said. “And it can be difficult for those of us with impairments at times. So even something as simple as working on audio/video technology, we can make it better.”
Recently, she said, she went to court and sat in the waiting area with others to see how long the process took for a person coming in to the court. A lot can be improved, she said.
Giordani was raised in Las Vegas and graduated from UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law. She clerked for a Clark County District Court judge and then started working at the city attorney’s office, where she’s worked as a prosecutor for 11 years.
In that time, she’s worked in all of the Municipal Court’s specialty courts, which she said is important experience for a judge. She wants to help grow those courts and also improve the efficiency of the department as a whole.
“I’ve handled every single case that we see in Municipal Court, from traffic offenses all the way up to more serious, which would be domestic violence, DUI and vehicular manslaughter at every stage of the process,” she said. “I’ve done all of that many times over.”
Giordani said her experience would make her a “well-rounded” judge. She’s lived in Las Vegas for nearly her entire life, and wants to continue her work within the community as a judge.
“I’ve dedicated my life to public safety, so this would just be a continuation. And I think that I would work very diligently at the job, as I’ve done so as a prosecutor.”