An interview with Ryan Russell candidate for Carson City Justice of the Peace Dept. 2

by Brian Bahouth

Ryan Russell and family - image - provided by the candidate.
Ryan Russell and family - image - provided by the candidate.

Carson City – Ryan Russell is running for Carson City Justice of the Peace Dept. 2 and recently visited the Nevada Capital News studios and recorded the following audio interview with Brian Bahouth.

When asked what a Justice of the Peace does, Ryan Russell said he has already been doing the job

“I’ve actually been acting in the role as a judge pro tem, filling in for the justices over the last 8 years.’ Russell said.  “They do get to do weddings, but they also have jurisdiction over all misdemeanor crimes in town, which means everything from the first appearance all the way through sentencing, and they do what’s called a preliminary hearing in all gross misdemeanors and felonies, which is a hearing to see if there is sufficient evidence to bind the defendant over for trial in district court.  We have traffic, landlord tenant, all protective order issues go through the Justice Court.  They have oversight over small claims court, and civil jurisdiction up to $15,000.”

We asked Mr. Russell about the notion of punishment, and he said punishment for breaking laws has been evolving in positive ways.

“In 2017, all misdemeanor crime in town was down, lower than it had ever been, and we’re down again from last year, and I think that’s because law enforcement and the courts are serving us well,” Russell said.  “The best examples I have of that are the mental health court and the misdemeanor addiction court.  Both of which are trying to find out why people are offending.  Instead of just simply punishing an offense, they’re figuring out what caused the offense and treating it in a way that is markedly reducing recidivism or repeat offense.”

Russell said data shows that incarceration increases the chance of recidivism, whereas education helps keep people out of the legal justice system.

“Every hour a person spends in jail increases their likelihood of re-offense,” Russell said.  “And the other thing I don’t think people hear enough that every hour of education we give somebody, decreases their chance of re-offense, and so, if we can find somebody who has a mental health issue or who has an addiction issue, if we can get through a team approach using a the judge, the district attorney, the defense, a counselor, and we can put reasonable mandates on their sentence, they are still being punished but they’re being treated, and if they can complete that treatment and complete their sentence, we are going to change their circumstance in a way that is going to return them to society as productive members.”

Judges have latitude in the way they interpret laws, so we asked Mr. Russell if compassion plays a role in his judicial decision making.

“I have prided myself frankly on being fair and even.  And I have said often that justice is blind for a reason because every person that sits in front of that court deserves a fair shake regardless of their economic status, their gender, their faith, whatever.  when they come before the court, it’s the judge’s job to see that person as a person who deserves fair and impartial justice,” Russell said.

Russell said a commitment to serve his hometown compels him to run for Justice of the Peace.

“I want people to know that I am applying for this position because I think it’s another way to serve this community, and I am very proud to be from Carson City.  I love this town and I want to continue serving it,” Russell said.

For more from Ryan Russell, listen to the audio interview posted above …

The following biography provided by the candidate.

Ryan Russell is a proud Carson City native and fourth generation Nevadan. He’s a partner with the Allison MacKenzie law firm in Carson City. Ryan graduated from Carson High School and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis on Human Resource Management from the University of Nevada, Reno before attending and earning a law degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Russell serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the Carson City Justice and Municipal Courts and is on the State Bar of Nevada’s Board of Governors. He is a licensed member the State Bar of Nevada, a member of the Washoe County Bar Association, First Judicial District Bar Association and Ninth Judicial District Bar Association.  He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory, and his Avvo rating is 10, the highest available.

As Carson City Justice of the Peace Russell will:

  • Enforce the rule of law as well as the fundamental principles of fairness, equality, compassion, and discipline
  • Continue the good work of the misdemeanor addiction and mental health courts. Those courts rehabilitate offenders and return them to contribute to society in a stable and crime free life.
  • Foster a culture of respect and efficiency. He will encourage a culture of cooperation and mutual respect with a cohesive team of bailiffs, clerks and court staff, where each member is valued.
  • Protect the vitality of our community. He believes it’s imperative that a judge understand the community he or she serves. He will also continue to advocate for our children and young people through his efforts in community service.​

​Ryan believes in giving back to Carson City. He volunteers his time to the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada and served as President of the Board of Directors in 2009.  He is an active member of the Carson City Rotary Club. He is also involved in local youth sports; he’s managed or coached several Little League, soccer and basketball teams over the past several years and is coaching two little league teams this year.

Ryan is endorsed by the Carson City Sheriff’s Supervisory Association.​

Ryan lives in Carson City with his wife Sarah and their three children.