NV 8 Dept 24 2020

Gillam got the nod from most of our panelists. One said he would choose Gillam “all day and twice on Sunday,” noting that he has both prosecutorial and defense experience. Another said he is “devoted” to his duties “in ways that are admirable” and has a “great disposition.” Ballou was perceived not to have campaigned much, if it all, though one panelist noted she is “a zealous advocate for her cause and clients” and another noted that as a woman of color, she would “bring diversity to the bench.”

Ballou did not respond to our questionnaire or the law school team’s attempts to contact her. She does not have a campaign website and Westlaw and Lexis searches did not generate a result. According to the Nevada State Bar, she was admitted to practice in 2003. Ballotpedia states that she is a Clark County public defender and has been employed there since 2005. The only information a Google search generates, in addition to this information, is that she was the attorney Judge Douglas Herndon asked to remove her “Black Lives Matter” pin in his courtroom. 

Gilliam responded to our questionnaire and participated in an interview with a member of our law school research team. He went into private criminal defense five years ago. Prior to entering private practice, he was a prosecutor for the City of Henderson for nearly eight years after being a Clark County public defender for a little more than two years. As a whole, then, he has spent half his career as a prosecutor and half practicing criminal defense (for a wide variety of charges ranging from misdemeanors to major felonies, including kidnapping and murder). One of his self-reported cases was State v. Andrew Arevalo, in which Gilliam represented the ex-boyfriend of disbarred attorney Alexis Plunkett. He stated that this case was unique because of increased media attention and was significant to him because he spent more than two years on the case and felt he got his client the best deal possible.

Gilliam has no formal citations for ethics violations and has never been accused of prosecutorial misconduct. In May of this year, Mickey Bohn (Gilliam’s former opponent who was eliminated in the primary election) filed an ethics complaint alleging that Gilliam, along with candidate Pickard, paid for and directly distributed a mailer that advertised the Nevada Republican Club’s endorsement of the candidates. A decision is still pending. When asked about this complaint, Gilliam asserted that, based on his interpretation of the law and after consulting with another judge and his campaign manager, he does not believe the advertisements violated ethics rules. He expressed no ill-will toward Bohn. He added that anyone who believes a candidate or judge may be in violation of the ethics rules should voice their concerns and allow those experienced in interpreting those rules to make the determination.