A Clark County District Court judge told at least two felons during sentencing hearings that if they follow through with all the terms of their probation, they may be able to get their voting rights restored in time to vote for President Donald Trump’s second term in 2020. According to the Nevada Independent, Judge Susan Johnson told two defendants pleading guilty to felony charges that if they follow through with their plea agreements, they would be able to vote in the next presidential election; specifically, she said they could vote for Trump.
According to the report, multiple criminal defense attorneys said they or their colleagues heard similar comments at sentencing hearings by Judge Johnson. One attorney reported feeling “uncomfortable” by Susan Johnson’s remarks.
Katrina Ross, an attorney with Clark County Public Defender’s office, said that she had personally heard Johnson make similar comments to defendants about Trump at least four times and her office was tracking the incidents.
In July, Judge Johnson told Gary Galazinm who was pleading guilty to battery with a deadly weapon, that she would suspend a minimum term of 28 months in state prison and allow him to serve a probation sentence of only two years. Johnson added that if he met all the conditions of his probation term, including paying restitution to the victim, he would be honorably discharged and able to vote for President Trump in the 2020 election.
“That way your civil rights would be restored and you would have plenty of time to vote for Mr. Trump in the next election, okay?” Judge Susan Johnson said.
The judge added that she is giving him another chance, but if he violated any of the terms, he would go to prison. Under Nevada law, people convicted of a violent felony cannot vote. To have their voting privileges restored, they have to get the court’s permission.
A week later, Johnson told Reed Anthony Morris, who was pleading guilty to attempted burglary, that if he completed boot camp and the terms of his probation, he could withdraw his plea to a misdemeanor instead. She noted (again) that it would give him “plenty of time” to vote to re-elect Trump in the 2020 election.
Nevada’s judicial code of conduct prohibits judges from allowing “family, social, political, financial, or other interests or relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment.” It also states that judge should never urge anyone to vote for a particular candidate for public office.
Judge Johnson has a reputation if mentioning re-electing the president to defendants that agree to plea deals to reduce their charges and avoid the right to lose their right to vote. It isn’t clear if anyone has filed a complaint against her. It’s pretty clear that if someone hasn’t reported her yet, it will happen soon, as many criminal defense attorneys have mentioned that her comments have made them feel extremely uncomfortable.
Do you think Judge Susan Johnson should face the consequences for breaking Nevada’s judicial code of conduct?
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