Pahrump justice of the peace candidates Frank Carbone and Lisa Chamlee have stark differences of opinion regarding the issue of experience.
Carbone, a former Nye County commissioner and 12-year resident of Pahrump, a former Air Force veteran and former employee of an aerospace and defense technology company, said he believes he’s qualified to hold the position despite not having a law degree.
He said he feels his career in management and non-management positions for more than 45 years, along with serving as a county commissioner, has bestowed him with a unique perspective to bring to the position of Pahrump justice of the peace.
“I just can’t sit here and say that I have a whole bunch of law books and I know everything,” he said. “I don’t believe that a lawyer needs to be justice of the peace. It’s not a district judge position or working for the state. I have the belief that I am a peer of the people and I believe they deserve the kind of justice from their peer, rather than somebody else who might have a different opinion.”
If elected to the position, Carbone said he would review statutes and ordinances to determine whether they are obsolete and unnecessary.
“I will also strive to clarify some of the responsibilities and law so that a good, clear ruling can be made providing justice for all who are presented before the bench,” he noted. “By working with the other town, county and state governing bodies, I will build a unified, combined effort to ensure justice is served in a way that benefits everyone involved.”
Carbone’s opponent, attorney Lisa Chamlee, has been practicing both criminal and civil law for the past seven years after graduating from law school.
Regarding the issue of experience, Chamlee suggested if someone needed a medical procedure done, it would be wise to have it completed by a person with a medical degree.
Though no law degree is a prerequisite to hold the position, Chamlee believes knowledge and familiarity with various legal issues and rules of procedure should not be understated or overlooked.
“I have practiced law here for quite some time and represented a lot of different individuals as well as businesses,” she said. “I am the only real attorney who is running for justice of the peace, and I truly care about our community. The important thing to realize is that a lawyer understands various important rules of procedure.
“A lawyer will know how to best handle a legal issue as far as evidence being admitted during a proceeding,” she said. “There may be constitutional issues on whether or not the evidence should be admitted. I think the voters should make an educated decision and make sure they vote for the person who is best suited for the job.”
Additionally, Chamlee also noted that although current and previous Pahrump justices of the peace did not possess law degrees, they still had a keen sense and knowledge of Nevada laws and ordinances.
She was referring to Kent Jasperson and Gus Sullivan, both with law enforcement experience and Tina Brisbill, a former law clerk.
“Judge Jasperson and Judge Sullivan were both employed with the sheriff’s office,” she said. “So when you’re dealing with criminal investigations and the rights of the accused, as you would also do as a law enforcement officer, you will know constitutional rights, which is so very important in our criminal cases.
“Tina Brisbill worked at the justice court for years before she ran for justice of the peace. She has experience from the aspect of working in the court for so many years as a clerk. That’s an example of hands-on experience for many years when you are intently watching attorneys argue cases.”
Still, Carbone said he believes he would be the best choice for the position.
“I think the community needs modest individuals who will treat people with dignity and understand the laws that are pertaining to the county,” he said on a final note. “I have experience in show cause hearings, which is just like court. I am still involved with the county in regard to making sure the laws are credible for the individual so that we are not being unfair.”
Regarding Chamlee’s final thoughts, she said she plans to continue campaigning and meeting with local and area residents to get her message out to all in the community.
“The campaign is going fine,” she said. “I have a Facebook page and noticed a lot of people have visited my site. I think getting out in the community and attending different functions around town is a great way to get my word out on my campaign, and why residents should vote for me.
“My opponent, on the other hand, has done a great job as a Nye County commissioner in our community. He’s also a really smart person, but he does not have any of that experience. He doesn’t have a law enforcement background and he has not worked for the courts. I believe that I’m more qualified and thus, the better candidate for justice of the peace.”