On December 12, 2022, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline filed a complaint against Honorable Adam Vander Heyden, Pro Tem Judge of the Las Vegas Justice Court.
The filing in the Nevada Supreme Court is styled as “In the Matter of Adam Vander Heyden,” with case number #85781.
The allegations include violations of the Revised Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct, including Rule 1.1, Rule 1.2, Rule 1.3, and Canon 2 of the Code, Rule 2.8(A), and Rule 2.10(A). These ethics rules generally require:
Judge to comply with the law, including the Code
Judge to act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety
Judge not to abuse the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others, or allow others to do so
Judge to ensure order and decorum in proceedings before the Court
Judge not to make any public statement that might reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court, or make any nonpublic statement that might substantially interfere with a fair trial or hearing
According to the Complaint, during the period of April through June 2021, a series of videos were edited and contained sound effects, laughing emojis, music, voiceovers, and post-proceeding commentary, along with mentions of Respondent Judge’s private law firm.
The complaint states
A series of “Instagram” and “Tiktok” videos depicting Respondent Judge on the bench presiding over actual judicial proceedings, without the consent of the litigants or court personnel, wearing a judicial robe and commenting on the proceeding as the “DUI Doctor” which was used as advertising for his private law practice.
It also included captions that read “Need legal help? I’m a defense attorney in the State of Nevada”, all of which were disseminated to the public.
Upon the filing of the complaint, Judge Heyden agreed that the Stipulation and Order of Consent to Public Reprimand take effect immediately and that by accepting the terms of the Order, he waives his right to appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.
The Judge earned a law degree from Thomas Cooley Law School.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.