Las Vegas 7 justice of the peace candidate Max Berkley spent $180,000 in the June primary to win 62,295 votes.
“I spent $35,000 and we were almost tied,” says Amy Wilson, who won about 3,300 votes less than Berkley and will face him in the general election. “It was very close. I was encouraged by these results.
“Obviously I would have liked to play as well as possible,” Berkley, a longtime public defender, said in an interview. “It was a relatively tight race, but I’m still hopeful, still confident, and here I’m working hard and hoping for a similar result next month.”
A third candidate eliminated in the primary, prosecutor Dina Rinetti, won more than 30,000 votes that will be up for grabs in November. She also won law enforcement endorsements, which have now gone to Wilson, who primarily practices personal injury law.
“I told you I was never going to raise or spend more than Berkley’s machine,” Wilson said, referring to the political connections of Berkley’s mother, former Democratic U.S. Representative Shelley Berkley. “But I have the law enforcement endorsements and I’m the only woman on the ticket now.”
Berkley says he is aware of the “gender factor” – that all things being equal, women have an advantage over men in court races.
“I know about women’s success, but I think I’m doing myself a disservice if I obsess over it too much,” Berkley said. “I will run the best campaign possible and hope for the best results. My opponent has worked hard. If she wins it will be because she has had a great campaign, not because she is a woman.
Wilson says she’s convinced Berkley is “a nice guy. We are very cordial. But I have a lot more experience.
Berkley, which has raised $191,000 through June, says he’s “trying to raise enough money to run some ads” before the election, a better investment, he says, than the polls.
“I did a poll before the primary and the numbers weren’t really accurate,” he says. “So I decided that we weren’t going to spend any money on doing another poll.”
Wilson earned his law degree from Brigham Young University. She was called to the California bar in 1998 and has also practiced in Arizona and Nevada.
She served as a prosecutor in Orange County and San Mateo County, then moved into criminal defense as a member of the San Mateo Private Defenders Panel, the equivalent of public defender.
She later became a prosecutor in the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office in Arizona, where she handled probation violations, and served as a judge pro tem in the court of justice.
Wilson has been licensed to practice law in Nevada since 2014, working her freshman year for a firm that “only did evictions for large property management companies.”
“I have a varied experience,” she says, including representing criminal defendants before the Court of Justice. “I’ve done a few DUIS, tickets, but we’re primarily an IP business.”
She also served as a regular pro tem judge in the 2020 Court of Justice until she filed for the Department 7 seat.
berkley is a Las Vegan native and a graduate of Boyd Law School at UNLV. He served as Clark County’s public defender for ten years, but says he could “step up to trier of fact” if elected to the Court of Justice.
“I understand that I would no longer be able to plead,” he said in an interview. “But I think I can be impartial and neutral. And that’s one of the reasons I decided to run for this job.
Berkley’s campaign website features an endorsement from his mother, who says her son is a “listener” and has “a quintessential judicial temper.”
Berkley says he would like to see more options in court for defendants who can benefit from drug court but are often denied treatment until their case is heard in district court. .
“There is such a drug court, but it’s not used as frequently as I think it is,” he says, adding that the district court has “a bunch of different inpatient treatment facilities and treatment ambulatory”.
“I would like to see mental health services used as well, and I don’t think we need to wait for someone to plead the serious charge before using mental health as well as drug court. .”
Early voting runs from October 22 through November 4. Election day is November 8.