- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Las Vegas-area family court judge already suspended without pay for failing to disclose a romantic relationship with a prosecutor who appeared before him is facing another Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline inquiry.

Clark County Family Court Judge Steven Jones‘ attorney, James J. Jimmerson, declined comment Wednesday about a 30-day deadline Jones has been given to respond to allegations that he was involved in illegal investment schemes, associated with ex-felons, improperly handled drug evidence and once had an intimate relationship with a law student who worked for him.

Commission Executive Director Paul Deyhle told the Las Vegas Review-Journal (https://bit.ly/QgkdRX ) that the disciplinary panel will consider Jones‘ response before deciding whether to go forward with a complaint.

Jones and Jimmerson previously lost a bid to have the Nevada Supreme Court block the case, which dates to 2006.

It is separate from proceedings that led to sanctions for Jones for failing to disclose and recuse himself from hearing cases prosecuted by Lisa Ann Willardson while they dated in October 2011.

The 45-year-old Willardson was found dead Dec. 26 at her home in Henderson. The death was ruled an accident after the coroner determined she died of a lethal combination of prescription medication.

The commission in February suspended Jones for three months without pay, and the state Supreme Court rejected Jones‘ claims that the commission inquiry leading to that result was biased and flawed.

Jones, 56, had already been suspended with pay after he was indicted in October 2012 with five other people on federal criminal fraud charges based on the investment scheme allegations. That case is pending.

Jones was first elected to the Family Court bench in 1992. He abandoned a bid for re-election during the Commission on Judicial Discipline proceedings in January, but was expected to appeal his suspension to the state high court.

The ongoing investigation accuses Jones of participating in improper investments as far back as 1996, and of improperly associating with a felon, his former brother-in-law Thomas Cecrle.

Jones and Cecrle are among six people who have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges stemming from allegations that they took part in a $3 million investment scheme between 2002 and 2012. Trial is scheduled to begin June 3.

The judicial commission case also alleges Jones tried to pressure a former court bailiff, Robin Whisman, into loaning another felon, Victor Hancock, $18,000 in 2004 and 2005.

Jones also is accused of having an “intimate relationship” in 2002 with Michelle Taylor, a law student working for him.

Taylor married after the relationship ended, and Jones several years later allowed her to practice in his courtroom without disclosing the old relationship with her, according to the proposed complaint.

Another allegation involves marijuana submitted as evidence by an attorney in a January 2007 child custody case.

According to the complaint, Jones took the marijuana home, where his then-girlfriend smoked the evidence.


Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, https://www.lvrj.com

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