On Wednesday, April 19, 2023, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline filed charges against Elias Goicoechea, a former Justice of the Peace of Elko County, for misconduct involving the consumption of alcoholic beverages while on duty.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Elias Goicoechea,” and was brought by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline with case no. 2022-028.

The charges cited Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 1, rule 1.1, 1.2 Canon 3, rule 3.1(a), 3.1(c).

The respondent was appointed as “on call” Justice of the Peace in the State of Nevada in Elko County for New Year’s Eve 2022. As JP, the respondent was empowered to issue search warrants where sufficient factual showings are made by representatives of law enforcement.

However, while on duty, the respondent was observed frequenting two different bars in the city of Elko, consuming alcoholic beverages. The respondent admitted to having consumed at least three alcoholic beverages during his duty as Justice of the Peace. He even admits authorizing two warrants in question during New Year’s Eve but mistakenly believed, while under the influence of alcohol, that both warrants were requested by the Highway Patrol and the second for Elko Department.

The filing states:

“Respondent was observed in possession of a drink at the “Duncan Little d. Creek” bar in Elko, Nevada during New Year’s Eve 2021/2022. The respondent was observed in a bar at the Maverik Casino in Elko, Nevada e. after midnight on January I, 2022. During his conversation with the Trooper seeking the first search warrant, the Trooper heard loud noises and music in the background leading him to conclude that the Respondent was attending a party at the time of approval of his search warrant. Respondent admitted to a District Court Judge that he had been out drinking during New Year’s Eve 2021/2022 and was, in fact, intoxicated when he issued at least one of the two (2) search warrants described herein in the early morning hours of January I, 2022.”

The filing continues:

“In the early morning hours of January I, 2022, the Respondent was presented with two (2) affidavits seeking search warrants for blood samples in separate DUI investigations for his review and approval. The first request was submitted by Nevada Highway Patrol, while the second was submitted by an Elko Police Department Officer. Despite having consumed alcoholic beverages on December 31, 2021, just prior to the two (2) affidavits being presented to him for review, the respondent nevertheless approved these search warrants for the respective officers.”

Based on the alleged facts above, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline requested that a public hearing on the merits of these facts and counts one, two, and three of the said matter be conducted by the commission, then sanctions be imposed accordingly.

The request states:

“Based upon the information above, the Commission shall hold a public hearing on the merits of these facts and Counts One, Two, and Three pursuant to NRS 1.4673 and, if the violations as alleged are found to be true, the Commission shall impose whatever sanctions and/or discipline it deems appropriate pursuant to NRS 1.4677, and other Nevada Revised Statutes governing the Commission.”

Goicoechea sat as a justice of the Peace, at Elko Justice Court, Elko County, State of Nevada located at 571 Idaho St Ste 2, Elko, NV 89801, USA, and can be reached at +1 775-738-8403. His info can be found on elkocountynv.net.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.