Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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Las Vegas judge in hot water after posting hot tub pic with public defenders

Las Vegas judge in hot water after posting hot tub pic with public defenders

Las Vegas Judge Erika Ballou is facing a formal ethics complaint after posting questionable images and captions on her social media accounts, including a photo of herself in a hot tub with public defenders.

The Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline filed two counts of violating the Revised Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct against Ballou in connection with two social media posts, which the commission alleges undermined public confidence in the integrity of the judiciary.

First, in September 2021, "Judge Ballou published an inappropriate statement about her judicial duties on social media," the complaint states.

"At 10:46 p.m., Judge Ballou posted on Instagram, ‘Life is STILL beautiful, despite the fact that Billie Eilish doesn’t START for 30 minutes and I have an 8:30 calendar tomorrow,'" the complaint reads.

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Erika Ballou's Instagram post
"At 10:46 p.m., Judge Ballou posted on Instagram, ‘Life is STILL beautiful, despite the fact that Billie Eilish doesn’t START for 30 minutes and I have an 8:30 calendar tomorrow,'" the complaint reads.

The caption also included the hashtag, "VacateTheS---tOuttaOutOfCustodyCases."

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The post violated three Canons, the commission alleged, including Canon 1, Rule 2.1, which mandates judges act in a manner that "promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity and impartiality of the jury."

Ballou also violated Canon 2, Rule 2.1, which says the duties of judicial office shall "take precedence over all of a judge's personal and extracurricular activities"; and Canon 3, Rule 3.1, which says that judges shall not "participate in activities that would appear to a reasonable person to undermine the judge's independence, integrity and impartiality."

READ THE COMPLAINT

Then, in April 2022, "Judge Ballou posted a photograph on her Facebook page of herself in a hot tub with two public defenders, Shana Brouwers and Robson Hauser, with the caption, ‘Robson is surrounded by great t--s.’"

The commission alleged that this post also violated three Canons, including Canon 1, Rule 2.1; Canon 2, Rule 2.4, which says judges shall not convey "the impression that any person or organization is in a position to influence the judge"; and Canon 3, Rule 3.1.

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Erika Ballou's Facebook post
In April 2022, "Judge Ballou posted a photograph on her Facebook page of herself in a hot tub with two public defenders, Shana Brouwers and Robson Hauser, with the caption, ‘Robson is surrounded by great t--s,'" the complaint reads.

The Eighth Judicial District Court said Ballou "is going to forgo the opportunity to comment." Fox News Digital also reached out to the Clark County Public Defender's Office.

It is not the first time Ballou has received public criticism. In 2022, a year after Ballou became a judge in Clark County, the Las Vegas Police Protection Association called for her resignation after the judge told a Black defendant to stay away from police after he was accused of battery against an officer, according to KLAS.

"You’re the one making the decisions not to walk away from cops. You’re a Black man in America. You know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are," Judge Ballou said at the time. "You know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are cause I know I don’t, and I’m a middle-aged, middle-class Black woman. I don’t want to be around where the cops are because I don’t know if I’m going to walk away alive or not."

Las Vegas Police Protection Association President Steve Grammas appeared on "The Ingraham Angle" in 2022 to share his thoughts on Ballou's statement.

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Steve Grammas appears on "The Ingraham Angle"
Las Vegas Police Protection Association Steve Grammas appeared on "The Ingraham Angle" in 2022 to share his thoughts on Erika Ballou's statement to a defendant accused of battery on an officer to stay away from police.

"It's unfortunate that someone on the judicial bench would bring in their own personal biases in a setting that I don't even think it was warranted to make the comment. She's made very clear her feelings on police, and this statement here has enraged our membership, our police officers, that go out there and risk our lives every day…that she needs to go," he said.

Grammas added that cases involving police officers as victims could come across her desk in the future, and the police association believes she would not preside fairly over such a case.

In a statement at the time, Ballou said she supports "proper law enforcement," adding that she speaks to those who appear before her in a way that is "straight-forward and understandable."





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