NV 8 Dept E 2020

Hoskin had the support of our legal panel. One said he “does a good job.” Another said he is “well thought of” despite in the past “drawing grief for failing to stop guardianship abuse” as a presiding judge. Another noted that Kurtz decided to run after Hoskin “removed him as a hearing master.”

Kurtz did not respond to our questionnaire. Our law school research team was not able to find much information on him, other than what is included on his campaign website. Kurtz has been a family law attorney in Nevada for 27 years. From 2009 to 2016, he served as a Family Court hearing master before being removed. Prior to that, he served as an alternate judicial officer for  nine years. He has run for a Family Court judicial seat four times in the last 20 years and has been unsuccessful all four times. Our research suggests that Kurtz has never been sanctioned by the court for misconduct and has no history of ethics violations. 

Hoskin was appointed to the bench in 2009 and is the incumbent. He was retained in 2010, re-elected in 2014 and generally presides over dependency (abuse and neglect) cases. Our law school team was able to find seven of Hoskin’s rulings that have been appealed. Of those seven, two have been upheld, one was upheld in-party, one case was vacated, and three were reversed. In one of those reversals, Miller v. Miller, the Nevada Supreme Court found that the case’s child support calculation was correct for parents that shared joint physical custody but, in that case, one parent had primary physical custody. The high court reversed and remanded the case for proper calculation. 

In another reversal, Blanco v. Blanco, the Nevada Supreme Court determined that Hoskin improperly entered default judgment for the husband in a divorce proceeding as a sanction for the wife’s failure to comply with several discovery requests; the court said a default judgment was not an appropriate discovery sanction. 

Hoskin self-reported a number of cases in his questionnaire. In one of those cases, Abts v. Abts, Hoskin described how family law often intersects with other areas of the law and how that case caused him to “become familiar with many laws and not restrict [his] practice to merely straight-forward family law cases”. Hoskin has never been sanctioned, disciplined, or found to have violated any ethics rules. Hoskin did self-report that he received a “Letter of Caution” from the State Bar of Nevada in 1996. However, this letter does not qualify as “discipline” and the law school team was unable to find an official record of this letter. 

Additionally, in the past there were serious issues with guardians exploiting the guardianship system and committing crimes. These issues became infamous with the indictment of April Parks, who was charged with more than 200 felony counts of exploitation and other crimes for lying to the court and taking advantage of the overburdened family court system. Much of this malfeasance was permitted by the then-guardianship hearing master, Jon Norheim, who heard almost every guardianship case in Clark County from 2005 to 2015. Hearing masters are not technically judges, although their decisions are just as binding as judicial rulings, and are overseen by judges. Hoskin was the judge in charge of overseeing Norheim for part of his tenure as the hearing master. Some attorneys and community members viewed the abuse as a neglect of duty on the bench and a lack of oversight causing significant harm to some of the more vulnerable members of our communities. Since 2015, the guardianship system has experienced a massive overhaul.