Our legal panel was unanimous in its support for Yeager. One said she is “the best qualified by far” and another said “she is more well-rounded” than her opponent.
Yeager is the specialty court hearing master for the Eighth Judicial District Court and presides over Mental Health Court, Co-Occurring Disorders Court, Civil Commitment Court and Assisted Outpatient Treatment. Prior to being selected as the first specialty court hearing master in 2017, she was appointed to the Las Vegas Justice Court Bench in 2015. Before she was a judge, Yeager was a Clark County public defender for more than 19 years, during which she tried more than 50 jury trials and hundreds of bench trials and was a team chief overseeing a team of seven attorneys. Yeager also was an adjunct professor and the previous director of externships for UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law before choosing to run for this seat.
The majority of Yeager’s work is focused on adapting the legal system to account for mitigating circumstances. This is evident in the cases she’s tried, as well as her work in the legal community. She worked to create the Record Sealing Clinic within the UNLV law school and Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, participated in “Stand Down For The Homeless” (which assists homeless people in quashing bench warrants), started the Public Defender’s Office partnership with the law school’s immigration clinic to advise non-citizen clients of immigration consequences, and spearheaded the creation of the North Las Vegas Community Court (which targets younger, low level offenders and connects them with services to address the underlying issues contributing to criminal behavior and ultimately reducing recidivism).
Villani has been a prosecutor with the Clark County district attorney’s office since he was admitted to the bar 11 years ago. He is currently a chief deputy district attorney with three years tenure in the Special Victims Unit. He has tried more than 80 cases, 35 of which were jury trials, and has argued three appeals in the Nevada Supreme Court.
One of these appeals, Marin v. State, resulted in a reversal after the Nevada Supreme Court found that the defendant’s statements to police violated his Miranda rights. In another one of these appeals, State v. Inzunza, the Nevada Supreme Court found that the trial court correctly dismissed the case after the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial was violated by the state. In Bowser v. State, the defendant was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. However, following the trial, the defendant filed a motion for mistrial related to prosecutorial misconduct because Villani had referred to the defendant as an “animal” during closing arguments. The Nevada Court of Appeals found that Villani’s characterization amounted to prosecutorial misconduct but denied the motion for mistrial. Villani received no disciplinary action for this instance. Other than this finding, Villani has no other accusations of prosecutorial misconduct, nor any ethics violations on record.