By Associated Press - Wednesday, December 18, 2019

LAS VEGAS (AP) - One of two Las Vegas judges facing suspension over allegations of misconduct conceded before a state disciplinary panel that using profane language and wearing a sweater with crude wording in court hallways could be inappropriate.

But Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson denied that she denigrated the dignity of the judiciary, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

“I guess I’m not as offended by the use of some profanity as apparently others are,” Andress-Tobiasson said at a Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline hearing Tuesday.

Commission prosecutor Thomas Bradley called the use of profanity at the courthouse “flagrant,” “appalling” and “high school-esque.”

Andress-Tobiasson and Justice of the Peace Amy Chelini could face paid suspensions over complaints that they interfered with hiring and firing court administrators and posed a threat to the public or the administration of justice.

Chelini testified that she thought the proceedings amounted to a “witch hunt” and a waste of taxpayer money.

“The only danger to the administration of justice is this prosecution,” she said. “You’ve literally got two people who have done nothing wrong, that try to run their courts efficiently.”

The seven-member commission has ended a two-day hearing at the Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, promising a written decision in the coming days.

Andress-Tobiasson is a former Clark County prosecutor appointed to the bench in 2009. Chelini is a former criminal defense attorney elected in 2016.

They are among 15 judges in a Las Vegas court handling misdemeanor criminal cases; civil small claims, eviction and protection actions; and decisions on whether felony cases have enough evidence to go to state court for trial.

Attorneys for Andress-Tobiasson and Chelini call their clients assets to the court system and to the community.

They noted the allegations don’t relate to courtroom actions and that both received high marks from lawyers in a recent rate-the-judges survey conducted by the Review-Journal.

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