After serving six years on the bench in Pahrump Justice Court, a local justice of the peace is seeking a second term in office.
A long-time resident of Nye County, Justice of the Peace Kent Jasperson served the community as a deputy sheriff for 25 years before retiring from the force.
He was soon after elected to the bench in 2007 when the Pahrump Justice Court added a second department.
Over the last six years, Jasperson has helped improve access to the justice court by assisting in the creation of an online system where people can download documents, look at the court’s calender and find other useful information before coming to the courthouse.
The judge said he hopes to continue to make the courts more accessible to the public by integrating the current online system with a new case management system, which could allow people even greater access to their own court records.
Jasperson recently sat down with the Pahrump Valley Times to discuss his run for a second term in office and his goals for the local justice court.
What made you decide to run for the position a second time?
Well it wasn’t really a decision I had to make. When I took the position six years ago I decided I would stay as long as I could to do whatever I could do for the community in that position.
Q: What are some of the things you are proud to say you’ve accomplished during your first term on the bench?
A: I feel that I’ve made the court more accessible to the public. In addition to other programs that I’ve started, one of the things I did when I first took the bench was make the court accessible online so people can go on the Internet, access court documents, make payments over the internet and they don’t necessarily have to come down and stand in line at the window waiting for someone to wait on them.
It’s been pretty positive for the most part, but there are some things that people still need to make an appearance for.
Q: If you were to be re-elected are there any other goals you would like to accomplish in your second term?
A: Right now I’m in the process of implementing a new case management system, which will also allow greater access and ease for my staff as well as the public. It will be integrated with the online system, which we are going to revamp so you could actually look up your own records.
Say you had a speeding ticket and you wanted to see what the status of it was, or when you needed to come to court, you could type in your name and see that information. That’s my goal and I know that several other courts, like those in Clark County, you can do that and that’s where I want to go.
I’m also looking into the possibility of electronic filing as well. I just want to keep the court moving forward, whatever path that will take, to continue to serve the public and to do what I can do for my staff to ease what they have to do and make things easier for everybody.
Q: What have you found to be the toughest part about being a justice of the peace?
A: Probably the absolute toughest part is making some of the decisions I have to make based on the facts of the cases I sit on. You obviously have to leave your feelings out of those decisions, you have to make those decisions based on what facts are presented and what current case law is.
As we all know everyone who comes before the court is innocent until proven guilty, so you can’t let your judgment be clouded by input from other sources, people, newspapers or TV, you have to block all of that out and that can be sort of tough with some of these cases that I sit on.
Q: Looking back at the last six years, do you think your law enforcement background has helped you in your role as a judge?
A: Absolutely. As a deputy sheriff I learned a lot about court procedures and evidence, I also learned a lot about testifying in court and all of those things have come into play now that I am on the other side of the fence so to speak. I know what’s going on when I have officers testify in my court room or there’s something to do with the handling of evidence, I know what needs to be done and how it should have been done and whether or not it was done right without having to second guess things like that.
Q: Is there anything else you want people to know about you or your run for a second term in office?
A: The only thing I can think to tell people is I intend to do things the way I’ve been doing them for the last six years, I intend to be fair and honest with people and to try to give justice for everyone that comes before me. One of my main goals that I’ve had since I’ve been on the bench, that will continue to be one of my main goals, is to try and make the victims of crimes as whole as possible for whatever loss they may have suffered because of the crime that was committed.