Nevada judge removed from criminal case after defying state's Supreme Court

 May 6, 2024

Nevada judges were shaken up last week after the state's high court intervened and pulled a judge off of a criminal case. 

Judge Erika Ballou found herself in hot water with the Nevada Supreme Court after she defied several orders to place a convicted criminal back in prison.

The order from the state's high court to remove Ballou from the case was given to Clark County District Court Judge Jerry Wiese, Ballou's superior.

In the order, one of the reasons given for her removal was "the district court’s failure to comply."

What happened?

Ballou has been accused of playing favorites and expressing bias for Mia Christman, a woman who went on a violent crime spree at the age of 18. She pleaded guilty to several charges and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

However, her attorney, Betsy Allen, in the appeals process, argued that Christman was a victim of sex trafficking and childhood trauma, which caused Ballou to vacate her sentence in 2021.

The outlet noted:

Ballou vacated the sentence in 2021 resulting in Christman’s release from prison before she finished serving the original term.

“It felt like somebody took a chance on me,” Christman told the 8 News Now Investigators.

Prosecutors from the Clark County District Attorney’s office kept fighting to reverse the decision, as they claimed that Christman had "manipulated" the system. "Christman failed to cooperate and disappeared twice before her guilty plea, according to prosecutors," the outlet added.

Prosecutors finally convinced the Nevada Supreme Court that her sentence should be reinstated, and the state's high court sent down the first order to reverse the vacated sentence in 2022.

Judge Ballou ignored that order, and then she would go on to ignore several more orders that came straight from the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court responds

"This is kind of turning our pardons process on its head," Nevada Supreme Court Justice Douglas Herndon said. "The walls are closing in on the District Court that is shockingly refusing to do its job."

Another complaint against Ballou was filed by District Attorney Steve Wolfson, who claimed she committed five violations regarding the case with Christman.

"Judge Ballou failed to perform all duties of judicial office fairly and impartially when she repeatedly acted in favor of Christman and against the state," Wolfson wrote. "Judge Ballou’s bias has caused her to ignore the Nevada Supreme Court for nearly two years and impaired the fairness of these proceedings."

Many cheered the state's high court for the order to have Ballou removed, as America can't afford to have both soft-on-crime prosecutors and judges.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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