Substitute Judge in North Las Vegas Loses Job over MySpace Blog

A substitute judge in North Las Vegas lost his job last week after Clark County's top prosecutor objected to hostile comments toward prosecutors that the judge put on his MySpace page.

Jonathan MacArthur, a 34-year-old criminal defense attorney, listed among his interests beating prosecutors and used a graphic phrase that he said was common "among blacks, people who associate with blacks or in a sports context."

District Attorney David Roger said the posting showed bias.

"He has displayed a bias against prosecutors," Roger said. "Therefore, I do not feel the state of Nevada would get a fair shake by him."

Roger told North Las Vegas Justice Court Administrator Terri March last week that if MacArthur continued as a substitute judge, he planned to file a motion to have MacArthur recused from all criminal cases.

March showed the MySpace comments to North Las Vegas Justice of
the Peace Natalie Tyrrell, for whom MacArthur substituted, in a role called being a "pro tem judge."

They decided not to use MacArthur's services any longer, March said.

"A judge's job is to be unbiased in all matters, and on that MySpace page, it appears he definitely has a bias against prosecutors," March said.

The comments were inappropriate and "unbecoming of a pro tem," March said.

MacArthur said his comments were related to his work as a criminal defense attorney, not as a judge.

"It's obvious to the casual reader this is an overstatement just for the effect," he said.

MacArthur said the controversy will not stop him from running for a job with the new judicial department that opens in North Las Vegas in 2009.

MacArthur said he blogs often and tries to provoke discussions on controversial issues, including race relations and fairness in practice in criminal cases.

"People who know me and interact with me socially know I'm constantly trying to say things in a funny, provocative manner,"
MacArthur said.

MacArthur said he still considers his MySpace page a recreational endeavor and a place to state his opinions. But in hindsight, MacArthur said, he would have changed the prosecutorial comment to avoid controversy.

As for his MySpace page, he made it private this week, available only to friends.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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