Bluth is the preferred choice of the majority of our panelists. One panelist had “nothing but positive” notes on her. Another liked her humility; another noted that she “listens well.” On the flip side, a panelist who has often been in her courtroom said she can be “unreasonable” and that she doesn’t always seem to understand indigent issues. Most panelists were not familiar with Leventhal. One noted that he’s handled cases in both state and federal court. Another noted that he has an ethics reprimand on his record.
Bluth was appointed to the bench in 2019 by Gov. Sisolak and is the judge in Department 6. Prior to being elected, she was a law clerk for the Clark County district attorney’s office Appellate Division, then a deputy district attorney, and then a chief deputy district attorney. More specifically, she was assigned to the Special Victims Unit, the Homicide Division, and the Child Death Review Team. Bluth has also helped draft several bills that were eventually passed by the Legislature. Many of Bluth’s cases as a prosecutor involved sexual assault and crimes against children. One case reported by Bluth, State v. Solander, ultimately expanded the permissible definition of sexual assault in Nevada to cover acts of sexual assault/penetration that were not motivated by sexual gratification. Bluth has extensive trial and appellate experience. She has no history of ethics violations, prosecutorial misconduct, or reversals.
As a judge, Bluth presided over State v. Nichols in which a wealthy California tech company owner and his friend were charged with felony drug possession. According to the Clark County district attorney’s office, these charges would have resulted in nothing more than probation after the Legislature passed laws that reduced the penalties for personal drug possession. Ultimately, a plea agreement was reached in which the district attorney’s office dismissed five more serious drug charges and allowed the defendants to enter an Alford plea for the remaining, lesser charges in exchange for 250 hours of community service, twice monthly personal drug counseling, and a $1 million donation to Las Vegas-area drug treatment and rehabilitation programs. An Alford plea allows a defendant to maintain his or her innocence while conceding that the State has enough evidence to warrant a conviction if the case proceeded to trial. Bluth, as the presiding judge, approved the plea agreement. We reported on this case after Clark County public defenders launched a plan to ask for similar pleas in other cases.
Leventhal is a private attorney who has been licensed to practice in Nevada for 17 years. His practice areas include family law and criminal defense, mostly drug and assault offenses and white collar crime. Leventhal did not fill out our survey nor respond to our law school team’s attempts to contact him directly for more information. He has no campaign website or reported contributions. Westlaw and Lexis searches for cases rendered little information.
In August 2016, Leventhal received a letter of reprimand for violating several rules of professional conduct regarding fees, conflicts of interest, professional independence of a lawyer and misconduct. Leventhal represented a criminal defendant for multiple drug cases in Nye County. As part of a fee agreement, the client transferred the interest of property she owned to Leventhal and a third-party investigator hired by him for the client’s case as a non-refundable payment for legal services. At some point thereafter, Leventhal and Zane claim that the client sent a text stating that the client was planning to deliberately flood the property in order to receive the insurance payout. At that point, Leventhal and Zane initiated eviction proceedings, for which Zane served the client. The eviction was upheld. Then, the client retained new counsel, appealed the eviction judgment, filed civil suit and filed the complaint with the ethics board. The board found that the non-refundable fee agreement/deed transfer violated the rules of professional conduct because Leventhal failed to explain the terms of the agreement to the client in a way that she could properly understand. It also determined that Leventhal failed to provide the client with a reasonable opportunity to obtain the advice of independent counsel regarding whether to enter into the agreement, failed to provide the promised legal services, created a conflict of interest by using Zane’s services to evict her from the property and improperly shared legal fees with a non-attorney by including Zane’s corporation on the deed. Leventhal was ordered to transfer the property back to the client. However, in reaching its conclusions, the hearing panel noted Leventhal’s reputation as “an excellent attorney with an otherwise unblemished long standing legal career, character, and reputation in the community”.
Leventhal has a reputation for representing infamous clients including a member of the MS-13 gang arrested on federal firearms charges, a North Las Vegas Justice Court marshal charged with soliciting a child for prostitution, and a man with alleged ties to a Colombian drug cartel that was found guilty of illegally selling Black Rhino horns.