On Thursday, April 4, 2024, the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline issued an order setting a public hearing to address ethics charges against Clark County District Court Judge Erika Ballou.

The two-day hearing will take place on July 11-12, 2024 at the office of the State Bar of Nevada in Las Vegas, according to the order. Judge Ballou is facing eight ethics charges related to comments she made about Black people during sentencing hearings in 2021 and 2022. She is also accused of violating judicial conduct rules through social media activity, including posting a photo of herself with two public defenders in a hot tub.

Judge Ballou filed her verified answer to the charges on March 6, 2024, denying that her actions violated rules requiring impartiality or prohibiting prejudicial conduct. In her response, Ballou argued that her comments during sentencing were protected free speech under the U.S. and Nevada constitutions. She also claimed her social media pages were private and did not identify her as a judge.

The disciplinary hearing will be held before a seven-member panel of the Commission on Judicial Discipline. Special Counsel Francis Flaherty will have eight hours to present evidence of rule violations, while Judge Ballou’s attorney Tom Pitaro will have eight hours to rebut the allegations and present mitigating evidence.

The order lays out time limits and procedures for the hearing. It states that witnesses will be sequestered, except for Judge Ballou herself.

Judge Ballou’s courtroom is located at the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89155, and can be reached at (702) 671-0591.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.