A Clark County District Judge has been named to hear the Darren Mack murder case.
42-year-old Judge Douglas Herndon was assigned the case Tuesday afternoon by Chief Justice Robert Rose. Though he is fairly new to the bench, he is no stranger to high-profile, difficult cases. This case will almost certainly add to his experience.
Douglas Herndon spent the first 14 years of his legal career in the Clark County District Attorney's Office, heading up its Special Victims Crimes Division for eight years, where he handled sexual crimes and crimes against children. He's described by people who know him as smart and unpretentious. Those qualities have not gone unnoticed. He was named "Man of the Year" by a family and children's advocacy group and, in a recent ranking by Las Vegas attorneys, was named one of the "Four Best Judges in Clark County."
He was appointed District Judge by Governor Guinn in January of 2005, and just recently on Tuesday, September 5th, he came off another high-profile case...removing Clark County Recorder Frances Dean from office for malfeasance.
Mack's attorneys have signaled from the beginning this will be an aggressive defense with no possible issue left unargued. Defense attorneys Scott Freeman and David Chesnoff have signaled their intention to aggressively defend Darren Mack on every possible issue...declining to accept the complaint against Mack because it came from District Attorney Dick Gammick's office, who they say will be a witness in the case. They successfully had the entire Washoe County bench removed for possible bias. They won both those arguments...Gammick removed his office, and no Washoe County bench members remain.
It's widely expected that Mack's attorneys will try to have the case moved from Washoe County, but Herndon's assignment doesn't accomplish that. A change of venue would only come if and when an impartial jury can't be found here.
Mack is accused of the stabbing death of his ex-wife, Charla and the sniper shooting of Washoe District Judge Chuck Weller. His attorneys moved to have all Washoe County judges removed from the case, citing possible bias.