On January 3, 2011, the Honorable Ronald J. Israel took the bench in the newly created Eighth Judicial District Court, Department 28. He practiced law in Las Vegas for over 30 years prior to his judicial election in November of 2010. Judge Israel was admitted to practice law in Nevada in 1983. In 1981, he was admitted to practice law in California after he obtained his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Diego. In 1977, he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Judge Israel came to Las Vegas in 1982 to practice insurance defense for Harding & Dawson, specifically to work on the MGM Grand Fire case. Subsequently, he went to work for Manos & Cherry where he practiced civil litigation and had the pleasure to work under former Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael A. Cherry. Judge Israel next became a senior associate for Edward M. Bernstein & Associates, still practicing civil litigation. In 1990, he started his own private practice concentrating on Personal Injury and Workers Compensation. He was later chosen for the first panel to serve as a Judge Pro Tempore for the Clark County Short Trial Program, and as a court-appointed arbitrator.
He is a member of the Clark County Bar Association, Nevada Bar Association, California Bar Association, American Bar Association, National Bar Association, Las Vegas Latino Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association, Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys, and Nevada Women’s Lobby, among other organizations.
Judge Israel is also a caring community member. He has been active in organizations including the Boy Scouts of America, as an Eagle Scout, the FBI Citizens Academy, Clark County Pro Bono Project, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, World Jewish Congress, Seniors United, Nevada Public Radio and PBS, the American Mock Trial Association and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Anti-Defamation League, Las Vegas Region.
What are the biggest changes you think we need to make to our justice system?
The biggest problem facing the Criminal justice system is Bail Reform. The Supreme Court has set out guidelines to allow more pre-trial releases for individuals who can’t afford monetary bail. Implementation is proceeding and needs to be enforced. When it comes to the Civil justice system there needs to be more access to justice for self-represented individuals. Currently many individuals have no recourse when they have legal problems in Civil cases, including a large percentage of family law cases.
What is your philosophy on “judicial activism”, and what effect should judges have in setting or promoting public policy?
As a Judge I follow the law and leave legislating to the Legislature.
Do you volunteer or are you involved in any charitable activities?
I am a member of the FBI Citizens Academy which is a charitable organization, and I am on the Board of Directors of the Anti-Defamation League.