Interview – Jack Kennedy, Candidate District Court Judge, Department 1
(Running against John Schlegelmilch)
This is an open seat previously held by retiring Judge Bill Rogers
Please post a short personal resume:
Jack Kennedy has practiced law in Nevada for 36 years. After graduating from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1975, Mr. Kennedy accepted a director-level position with the Washoe County School District. Two years into his eleven-year tenure with the School District, Mr. Kennedy became a member of the Nevada State Bar and began his distinguished legal career. In 1986, Jack left the School District to focus solely on the practice of law.
As the president and managing attorney for the law firm of Jack E. Kennedy & Associates, P.C., Jack honed his skills in case management, supervising a team of attorneys and their support staff, as well as serving as lead counsel and a court-appointed arbitrator. In early 2006, Jack’s firm expanded to include a Fernley office. Later that same year, Jack and his wife made Fernley their home.
Jack is actively involved in the Fernley community. Both he and his wife, Kathy, are Charter Members of the Rotary Club of Fernley. Its Backpack Food Program that provides weekend food supplies to Fernley school children is a Fernley Rotary project that was proposed and organized by the Kennedys, who (in addition to providing the initial funding), continue to help raise money to support the program. Jack also helps with the weekend food kit packing and makes the food deliveries to East Valley Elementary.
Jack and Kathy Kennedy have been married for 21 years. They have a blended family of 5 grown children and 5 grandchildren.
For more information, please visit www.jackkennedy.com
1. This is an open position. Define your strengths and why you would better serve Lyon County in this position than your opponent.
Answer: Experience – I was a court-appointed arbitrator for 8 years and ran a successful law firm for more than 30 years. I am highly skilled in case management and personnel management. I have represented plaintiffs and defendants in complex civil cases. My practice has included real estate law, employment law, civil rights law, family law, and criminal law. I have a track record of success at the trial court level, the Supreme Court level, and at settlement that speaks for itself: I understand the law and how to apply it to the facts of each case. I am committed to doing the hard work that is necessary to keep cases on track and minimize delay. The cornerstone of my campaign is access to justice. Cooperation between District Court departments is crucial to alleviating and avoiding backlog: my ability to foster good working relationships will benefit everyone.
2. What are the primary responsibilities of a District Court Judge? Define your philosophy in regards to the role of a District Court Judge.
Answer: The answer, in part, depends on whether a case is to be heard by a jury. In all cases, the judge is responsible for keeping the case on track. In the case of a jury trial, the judge’s role is not to determine the facts of the case, but to instruct on how the law is to be applied and to decide motions that come before the court. In the case of a non-jury trial, the judge must also determine the facts of the case.
My philosophy is first and foremost that a judge should never legislate from the bench. I believe that a good working relationship between department judges is crucial.
3. As a District Court Judge, what do you believe would be your three or four greatest challenges and how would you address them?
Challenge #1: More than half of the current case load in Lyon County is family law cases. In many instances, neither party can afford a lawyer. This is where a good working relationship between departments is crucial: when appropriate, the presiding judge can refer the case to the judge in the other department to act as mediator, thus enabling a possible resolution without the expense to the county of a trial. Many more populated counties in Nevada already employ alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
Challenge #2: Civil cases move too slowly through the legal system. A proactive approach would be to encourage early case conferences wherein the parties and their attorneys meet to evaluate evidence supporting liability, damages, and the defenses plead (shortly after the Answer or other responsive pleading has been filed). Thereafter, if mediation is desired, the parties can request a referral from the presiding judge to have the other department’s judge mediate the case. Lengthy and expensive trials may be avoided by utilizing this process.
Challenge #3: Many parties before the court are represented by attorneys outside of Lyon County. When these attorneys are required to personally appear for a motion hearing or evidentiary hearing, it is their clients who bear the financial burden of their travel. Greater use of video conferencing (when appropriate) will reduce the overall costs to the parties and the court.
4. It is a long campaign season. Many accusations and assertions are made by candidates. Are there any specific charges or assertions made by your opponent, or others, that you feel are inaccurate or unfair that you would like to answer to?
My opponent and I were not on the Primary ballot. As of this writing, my opponent and I have not had the opportunity to enter into a debate. No public charge or assertion has been made that requires rebuttal.
I have asked Republican candidates in selected Lyon County races to participate in an online interview.
The interviews are posted in full, unedited as submitted, on NewsDesk (www.ndbynd.com) and all other GOP associated websites that wish to do so. The responses will be emailed to the membership of each organization, with reposting of any interview by interested parties strongly encouraged.
The purpose of these interviews is to allow our Republican candidates the opportunity to state their positions in their own words, describe how they differ from their opponent’s positions and why they would better serve their local government better than their opponent.
Nancy Dallas, Publisher/Editor NewsDesk (Est. January 2003)