Posts Tagged ‘James Hardesty’

Jurist Says Mental Health Support Key To Stemming Mass Killings

By Sean Whaley | 3:12 pm December 17th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Nevada Supreme Court Justice James Hardesty said today that the country will not have success in reducing the tragic type of shooting incident that occurred Friday in Connecticut without providing more mental health support.

Hardesty, interviewed on the Nevada NewsMakers television program, said “we’re going backwards” on mental health treatment needs nationally and in Nevada.

Nevada Supreme Court Justice James Hardesty.

“It’s high time the country does something about these matters,” he said. “And from the perspective of a judge who has worked hard to, and the judiciary as a whole, worked hard to promote mental health court as an example, we cannot achieve any success in any of these areas if we do not recognize the importance of being proactive in dealing with mental health issues in this country and in this state.

“And yet we’re going backwards,” Hardesty said. “And I hope that these very sad incidents demonstrate the need to revisit these subjects.”

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, in a report released in November 2011, said there is a national crisis in helping people with serious mental illness due to deep cuts in state spending for mental health services.

“States such as California, Illinois, Nevada and South Carolina, which made devastating cuts to mental health services previously, have made further cuts for fiscal year 2012, putting tens of thousands of citizens at great risk,” the report said.

The NAMI report said states have cut more than $1.6 billion in general funds from their state mental health agency budgets since 2009 while at the same time demand increased significantly.

The state Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services has more than $7 million in general funding spending requests in the state budget “wish list” document released to the public on Friday. Many of the $419 million in total state agency general fund requests included on the list are not expected to see funding due to a lack of tax revenue.

One of the mental health requests is for nearly $200,000 for a clinical program manager and training for a new program to provide a continuum of care for clients reentering the community when being released from jails, prisons and forensic hospitals.

In his NewsMakers comments, Hardesty said the 2nd Amendment and gun control debate is a separate issue.

But the perpetrators of many of these terrible incidents are afflicted with serious mental health issues that require a proactive society, he said. Families who struggle with family members who suffer from such illnesses need help and support, Hardesty said.

Nevadans don’t have to look to Connecticut to see the problem, he said, citing the Carson City incident in September 2011 where a man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle shot five uniformed National Guard members eating breakfast at a restaurant, killing three and another person before shooting himself.

The shooter, Eduardo Sencion of Carson City, suffered from mental health issues and was on medication. He left no note or explanation for the shootings.

“So I hope that it causes us, as a society, to look at what will help be proactive and achieve some significant changes in those areas,” Hardesty said.

On a positive note, he pointed to the successes of the state’s mental health courts, where the focus is on diverting non-violent offenders with mental illness into treatment programs. The goal is to reduce or eliminate offender recidivism by treating their mental illness.

“And the more we can do to be proactive to support programs like that, the more we’ll do to reduce the risks to our society caused by the Sandy Hook Elementary event,” Hardesty said.


Audio clips:

Nevada Supreme Court Justice James Hardesty says Nevada and the nation are going backwards in support for mental health treatment efforts:

121712Hardesty1 :17 we’re going backwards.”

Hardesty says he hopes the tragic Sandy Hook incident will help lead to more mental health support:

121712Hardesty2 :11 in those areas.”

Hardesty says an investment in mental health support will help reduce the risks of further such incidents:

121712Hardesty3 :13 Hook elementary event.”


Sandoval’s Past Sentencing of Criminal Illegal Aliens – Part 2

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:29 am May 21st, 2010

In response to my post yesterday about Brian Sandoval’s judicial record of light sentencing for a number of criminal illegal aliens, Sandoval spokesperson Mary-Sarah Kinner brings a story (written in 2007 by our own Sean Whaley when he was with the LVRJ) to my attention.

The piece was about lawmakers recommending to Corrections Department officials that they seek the release and deportation of hundreds of illegal immigrants in the prison system as a partial solution to overcrowding.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Raggio and Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley both went on record supporting deportation.

So did State Supreme Court Justice James Hardesty, at least for those illegal immigrant inmates serving time for nonviolent crimes.  Hardesty reasoned that if deported inmates returned to Nevada and were apprehended, they would have to serve any additional sentence in federal prison.

Fine, well and good.

But in five of the eight cases I cited yesterday, the individual in question had already been deported at least once.  And Sandoval only ordered one of them to serve prison time.  In that one case, Javier Rodriguez-Guzman was finally given two years in the slammer — after being apprehended and deported six times between 2000 and 2005.

However, the other four who did not get time behind bars were given probation and a small fine. Even if they were all immediately deported, it was then (at least) the second time in their history that deportation was privileged over serving time in federal institution.

And that does not meet the standard Justice Hardesty stated he thought should apply in these cases, nor does it meet the stated intention of District Court Judge David Gamble in the case of Juan Ramon Sepulveda-Leon.  Gamble told the ex-felon in 2005 that if he returned to the United States, he would get 1-3 years time in prison.  Sepulveda did return, but Sandoval gave him time served, three years supervised release (probation) and a $100 fine.

Whether you think Sandoval did right or wrong in each of these cases, the point is that he has recently taken a Tough-on-Immigration-Law stance (along with most of the rest of the GOP candidates) but at least part of his record on the federal bench does not seem to support his place on that bandwagon.

Nevada Supreme Court Justice Ron Parraguirre to Head Court in 2010

By Sean Whaley | 5:00 pm December 28th, 2009
CARSON CITY – Nevada Supreme Court Justice Ron Parraguirre will take over as the new chief justice of the seven-member court in 2010.

The chief justice is the administrative head of the judicial branch and the public voice of the Supreme Court. The chief justice also oversees the direction of the judiciary’s activities. A majority vote of the full court, however, is required to take any major action.

Parraguirre takes over from Chief Justice James Hardesty, who served as the court’s liaison to the Nevada Legislature during the 2009 session. Hardesty won approval from the Legislature for nine new district court judges in Clark County and one in Washoe County. The cost of the new jurists will be paid for through fees rather than general fund dollars.

Hardesty also was instrumental in implementing a Foreclosure Mediation Program, at no cost to taxpayers, to assist Nevada homeowners deal with the foreclosure crisis.

“In today’s hard economic times, the court has managed to keep the wheels of justice turning and the doors open for business,” Hardesty said. “In addition to cutting the court’s budget, we reverted more than $2 million for fiscal year 2009 to the state general fund.”

Parraguirre was elected to the Supreme Court in 2004.

Both Parraguirre and Hardesty have announced they intend to seek new terms on the court in 2010.