Some of our panelists did not know much about either candidate in this race. Among those who were familiar with both, the comments about both were positive: “This is one of those cases where we have two good people running.” Ganz was said by one to “have a good reputation in the legal community.” Another noted that “he has a great reputation in the Nevada Justice Association as a PI attorney.” One said that if civil cases are at hand, Ganz should be the pick, but for criminal cases, “it should be Monica.” (Assignments can change so one panelist noted that we “shouldn’t overfocus on specific experience overmuch for District Court.”)
Ganz did not respond to our questionnaire. However, he did participate in a telephone interview with a member of our law school research team. He stated that he reached the decision not to fill out the questionnaire after consulting with his campaign manager out of concern about what he deemed was the sensitive and personal nature of some of the questions — and the possible implications or mischaracterizations that could result from selectively answering the questionnaire.
Ganz has been a civil litigator in Nevada for more than 20 years, with a focus on complex litigation. In addition to his civil litigation work, Ganz said he is passionate about representing children. He volunteers for the Children’s Attorney Project, representing children in instances of abuse within the foster care system and the school district. He also has served as a justice of the peace pro tem, meaning he presided over cases when the justice of the peace was unavailable, hearing mostly domestic violence cases. He told our law school researcher that he attended a course at Reno’s National Judicial College, where he participated in an entire day of curriculum on the safety precautions all judicial officers should follow, in order to fully prepare himself to be a judge. Prior to running for this seat, Ganz sold his interest in his firm, Ganz & Hauf. He stated in his interview with our researcher that if he is unsuccessful in this election, he would like to work for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. He has no ethics violations on his record.
Trujillo has been a Clark County public defender for 12 years. In 2013, she was promoted to chief deputy public defender and is certified-qualified in capital cases, which is the primary focus of her work. Trujillo has tried 11 capital jury cases. Her self-reported significant cases include successfully arguing that the State improperly admitted evidence and failed to present exculpatory evidence during a grand jury proceeding, and successfully arguing that a motion to suppress statements was made in violation of the defendant’s Miranda rights. In reporting a case of particular significance to her, Trujillo emphasized that presenting the narrative of a person’s entire life in a manner that supports the request for a sentence less than death is probably the heaviest burden she has ever experienced, but was a privilege that she does not take for granted. From her work with capital cases, Trujillo has intimate knowledge and understanding of mitigation in the penalty phase and, therefore, how a defendant’s life circumstances ultimately led to his or her participation in crime. Trujillo has also participated in warrant quashing and “Ask A Lawyer” programs for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. She has no citations for ethics violations.