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And think, these folks decide children’s fate

Our courts, we are told, are the great levelers, the one place where every American is equal, where justice is meted out, where our rights are protected and our traditions are preserved.

As it turns out, it’s also a great place for hot chicks to meet stud muffins on the prowl, where officers of the court while away their days wondering what certain judges are wearing under those long dark robes.

At this moment, I don’t know what the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline will decide in the case of Family Court Judge Steve Jones, but frankly, it doesn’t matter. Even if the commissioners ignore the obvious, self-serving lies served up in steaming, odiferous portions last week, we are seeing the last of Judge Jones. He’s toast, and will never again be elected to serve on the bench.

It will take years for the stench to clear out of Jones’ courtroom, and if he is ever foolish enough to run for office again, voters will get plenty of reminders of the decidedly unjudicious behavior exhibited by the judge and his latest paramour over the past year or so. The Jones courtroom now reeks of tawdry perfume, smeared lipstick, and runaway hormones. The sounds that echo in the courthouse hallways bring to mind the sweaty grunts of horny teens during a backseat tryst. The episode has all the decorum of a Miley Cyrus twerk-a-thon, about as pure as the cushions of a much-used couch in a low rent strip club.

By now, we’ve all read about how deputy DA Lisa Willardson lusted after the judge and thought he was “freakin’ hot”, about the hundreds of text messages that passed between the two, about how Willardson was one of several female DA’s in the child welfare unit who wanted to jump Jones’ bones. We also learned—amazingly—that Willardson had an earlier fling with the Family Court Administrator Leonard Cash, the same Leonard Cash who testified that he took it on himself to propose to DA Dave Roger that Willardson be allowed to continue to practice law in front of Jones, even though there was no question she was romantically or hormonally involved with Jones.

What the hell are these people thinking?

The Family Court handles heartbreaking cases and issues every single day, in particular, it decides the future of abused and neglected children, decides where such kids should live and with whom. The court literally makes life and death decisions for these kids and their families every single day, and yet, the so-called adults in the courtroom were focused—not on families—but on the prospect of shredding their clothes so they could bump uglies. Get a room, preferably one that is not subsidized by taxpayers.

Judge Jones seemed a bit miffed that he should even be asked about these matters, that it’s all somehow beneath him. He told the commission he was deeply offended that someone had taken a snapshot at a party, a photo of “his crotch,” he says. We’ve all seen the photo by now. It shows Jones’ massive paw as it hovered just over the knee of Ms. Willardson. A man with the gall to even show up to defend the poor judgment that would land him in this kind of spot can’t possibly be offended by much of anything, I’d say. Where is the sense of shame, the embarrassment this sordid episode has brought to the court? Even worse is the fact that this isn’t the first time Jones’ troubled romantic life has been splattered across newspapers.

This is the best we can do for a family court judge?

THANKS DINA: Americans are pretty much resigned to low expectations when it comes to Congress. The partisan logjam has made it all but impossible for anyone to pass anything. Democrats in the GOP-controlled House are particularly stymied. The best we can hope for these days is that there are just enough sane voices on the Hill (in both parties) to prevent the passage of things that might cause lasting damage.

If Nevada congresswoman Dina Titus achieves nothing else during her time in Washington, she has earned the eternal thanks of many of us who live in the shadow of Frenchman Mountain. As you may have heard, Titus effectively throttled a plan to rename the peak of Frenchman in honor of former president Ronald Reagan. One of my neighbors, political activist Chuck Muth, spearheaded the drive to rename the tippy-top section of the mountain for Reagan, the president who traded with the enemy (Iran-Contra), tripled the federal deficit, and foisted on the country the thoroughly discredited trickle-down economic theory.

Titus used a perfectly legal maneuver to derail Muth’s effort. She proposed renaming the peak in honor of a worthy Nevadan, Maude Frazier. This has sent right-wingers screeching up the wall. Muth admits he started the campaign as part of a national effort by his soul mate Grover Norquist to slap the name of their deified political hero on everything they can find…every tree, rock, dirt clod, gravel road, or cacti. It was an overtly partisan proposal from the very beginning, which makes it all the more hilarious to see the righties condemning Titus for injecting partisanship into this matter. Some of the letters sent to the RJ (and to my colleague Steve Sebelius) by angry Reagan worshipers are highly entertaining, especially those whose wit includes juvenile distortions of Titus’ name, the kind of insults that Oscar Wilde may have written when he was in the 2nd grade.

If Muth really wants to name something for Reagan, there’s still a fair-sized hole in the ground up here on Frenchman that hasn’t been assigned to any politician. Seems to me that a hole would be an appropriate fit.

OTHER STUFF: Former NBC newsman Lee Speigel, who now writes for Huffington Post, will be speaking Saturday evening at the National Atomic Testing Museum. Spiegel was instrumental in getting the United Nations to take a hard look at the UFO topic back in the late 70’s. He is one of only a handful of mainstream journalists with an abiding interest in UFOs and will look at how his media colleagues often mishandle UFO reporting. The public is invited…..A great stocking stuffer for the Nevada history buff on your Christmas gift list could be the new book by gaming historian David Schwarz. “Grandissimo” is a biography of the most colorful and creative casino owner of all; the irrepressible Jay Sarno, a degenerate gambler and man of great appetites who created the first fully-themed resorts (Caesars Palace and Circus Circus) on the Strip. I’m halfway through the book but can already tell it is one of the most entertaining Nevada bios I’ve read in years…..

GEORGE KNAPP is a Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter for KLAS Channel 8.