Our panelists leaned toward Perez in this race, though one noted he is “not the hardest worker in the world.” Another said he has “the experience, knowledge, skill and temperament to be a very good judge.” That same panelist noted, though, that “neither will be exceptional.” Mercer was said to be “a competent attorney.”
Perez has been licensed to practice in Nevada for 16 years but has been practicing law for more than 21 years. The majority of his practice has focused on family law matters. In one self-reported case that Perez handled at the trial court level but not on appeal, the Supreme Court of Nevada ruled that a parent does not have to give up his/her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in order to attempt to retain or regain parental rights. As a result, a parent can discuss events surrounding an abuse or neglect allegation in Family Court for the purposes of maintaining parental rights while still maintaining innocence in any subsequent criminal matters.
According to his campaign website, he reviews every case after trial to improve and prevent himself from repeating mistakes. According to the Nevada State Bar website, Perez has never received any formal disciplinary action. However, he self-reported that he received a reprimand in 2008 for violating the professional rules of conduct regarding competence and supervision of nonlawyer assistants. According to Perez, he employed a law clerk that ended up having an affair with a client and then providing the client with false information that set up unrealistic expectations for her case.
Mercer has been practicing law in Nevada for 22 years. In addition to being in private practice focusing primarily on family law, she has also served as a hearing master pro tempore, a fair hearing master for the Department of Family Services and an administrative hearing master for the Chiropractic Physicians’ Board of Nevada. According to her campaign website, she has presided over 4,000 Family Court hearings in the areas of juvenile delinquency, juvenile dependency, domestic violence, child support, drug court, guardianships, civil commitments, discovery and delinquency diversion.
Mercer did not provide any case details in her self-reported cases, and the cases our law school team reviewed were not particularly significant for the purposes of voter information. Mercer has also participated in the Children’s Attorney’s Project, the Legal Aid Center’s Ask-A-Lawyer program and new lawyer mentorship programs. She unsuccessfully ran for a Family Court seat in the last three elections. As far as our research indicates, Mercer has not been sanctioned by the court for misconduct and has no history of ethics violations.