Washoe County judge faces disciplinary hearing
January 11, 2018
Washoe Family Court Judge David Humke faces a series of charges he repeatedly failed to do his job and mismanaged his department over the past three years.
In a seven-page complaint, Kathleen Paudstian, prosecutor for the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline, charged Humke hired and refused to discipline an unqualified judicial assistant and failed to process even a 10th the number of cases handled by other family courts in the county.
“The respondent’s department processed only 62 cases as of the end of November 2016 while most of the departments processed over 700,” the complaint states.
It says his department disposed of just four cases in September 2016 and no cases in October and November that year.
In one case, the parties came to the department for an emergency hearing, but neither Humke nor his judicial assistant were there, forcing another judge to handle the matter.
“Litigants also found it extremely difficult to obtain help from the respondent’s department because they would get a recorded voicemail when they called and no one returned their calls,” according to the complaint.
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Likewise, it states Humke failed to answer his phone when he was the on-call judge, forcing another judge to take those calls. It says he even failed to respond to phone calls from the discipline commission investigator.
The judicial assistant was identified as Mitchell Wright who the complaint says Humke hired over the objections of then-Chief Judge David Hardy. Wright, it states, had been publicly reprimanded by the state bar, failed the background check and was accused of several inappropriate comments and actions involving court employees.
Eventually Chief Judge Pat Flanagan terminated Wright for disruptive behavior and failure to carry out his duties.
Humke will face a public hearing on the charges and, potentially, sanctions and discipline.
Humke was elected to the bench in 2014 after serving 20 years in the Nevada Assembly and three terms on the Washoe County Commission.