Judge Mark Stevens serves as city of Henderson Municipal Court Judge, Department 1, taking office April 17, 2007. He served as Chief Judge from 2012 through 2015 and 2018 to present. Judge Stevens presides over criminal arraignments and trials, as well as traffic arraignments and trials.
In June 2011, Judge Stevens initiated the Veterans Treatment Court program in Henderson. This program assists military veterans charged with misdemeanor crimes while struggling to readjust to civilian life.
Prior to becoming Henderson Municipal Court Judge, Judge Stevens was a prosecutor for seven years with the Henderson City Attorney’s Office, Criminal Division, and a Henderson Police Department patrol officer for three years.
Before his service at the city, Judge Stevens practiced civil law and was the staff attorney for a law enforcement training center. He served in the United States Marine Corps from 1988 to 1994 as captain, company commander and judge advocate defense attorney (JAG).
Judge Stevens earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration Management at Oklahoma State University and his Masters of Business Administration from Oklahoma City University. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1990 and became a member of the State Bar of Nevada in 1991.
Judge Stevens previously served on the S.A.F.E. House board of directors and was an instructor for the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy.
A member of the Clark County Bar Association, Nevada Bar Association and the U.S. Supreme Court Bar Association, Judge Stevens also served as the 2017 President of the Nevada Judges of Limited Jurisdiction. In addition to Nevada, he is licensed to practice law in the states of Nebraska and Colorado as well as U.S. District Court.
What in your childhood or young adulthood could you look back on and view as a sign of what was ahead for you in your law career? Did you have a moment when you knew what you wanted to do?
I grew up as a farm boy back in Nebraska and from an early age I knew that I wanted to be a lawyer and hopefully one day a judge.
What do you love most about being involved in the law community in Las Vegas? Does it differ from practicing law or sitting on the bench elsewhere?
I enjoy the professionalism displayed by the attorneys in court in Nevada. I had a similar experience with the attorneys in the Marine Corps.
What is the most memorable case you tried as an attorney before taking the bench? Please share why.
My most memorable case was the very first case as a defense attorney “JAG” in the Marine Corps. It was an 8-day trial with extremely long days. One day lasted from 7:30 AM until 3:00 AM the next morning and we started back up at 7:30 again.
What is the most memorable case you have presided over as a judge…and why?
A vehicular manslaughter case because of the emotions involved.
What is the most challenging thing about sitting on the bench versus trying cases as an attorney? And was there something in your transition that took some getting used to?
It takes a while to get used to waiting for things to happen versus making things happen during a trial.
Describe a situation where you had to support a legal position that conflicted with your personal beliefs, and how you handled it.
I don’t recall a situation that conflicted with my personal beliefs. I believe every defense attorney needs to zealously represent their client and every prosecutor needs to do what is in the best interest of justice.
Describe a court situation that tested the limits of your patience. How did you respond? And in hindsight, would you have done anything different?
Dealing with sovereign citizens and their actions in court can be difficult. The best way to handle it is to take a deep breath and/or take a break if necessary.
Biggest pet peeve triggered by attorneys that appear in your courtroom?
Our legal community is exceptionally professional, but a lack of professionalism is a pet peeve.
What is your best piece of advice for litigants and/or attorneys that appear in your courtroom?
The best piece of advice is to display civility in court.
Knowing what you now know about your work, what advice would you go back and give your younger self about practicing law, or sitting on the bench?
I don’t know what advice I would give my younger self but the experiences as a Marine defense attorney, police officer, prosecutor and judge have helped me to become well-rounded.
What has being a judge meant to you?
I truly enjoy being a judge. As the saying goes, “If you enjoy what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”