Jason Gunnell and Courtney Ketter vying for municipal bench at NLV
Two men are running to replace Judge Sean Hoeffgen in Department 2 of the North Las Vegas City Court, after deciding not to run again.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Jason Gunnell and local attorney Courtney Ketter will face off for the seat. Both have lived in the area for more than a decade and are seeking to be elected to the bench for the first time.
Gunnell was originally born in Idaho and attended law school at Southern Illinois University.
He spent much of his career as an Air Force attorney, as a prosecutor, and later as a senior special advocate for victims. He left active duty in 2015 and moved to North Las Vegas with his family.
He now works in the Attorney General’s office, handling a variety of different cases. He said his unique experiences would help him acclimate quickly to the job of judge.
“I’ve had experiences at the federal level, I’ve had experiences at the state level and in county courts,” he said. “And I want to bring all of those skills and everything that I have to focus on the city of North Las Vegas and try to make a difference locally. The bigger the government, the harder it is to make a difference.
Gunnell said he wanted to involve local community groups in the justice system, and also wanted to spend time getting out into the community and helping streamline some of the more tedious court proceedings.
“Getting more involved in the community is one of my big goals,” he said. “So the first time you meet me as a judge is not in the courtroom itself. You’ve met me on the street before.
Ketter has lived in the Las Vegas Valley for 17 years and said applying for the job felt like the “next step” after years of becoming increasingly involved in the local community.
“I feel like my personal and professional experience gives me a good set of skills to communicate well with people in North Las Vegas,” he said. “And that’s why I run.”
Ketter has experience as a prosecutor and defense attorney, and he said that was one of the main reasons he felt he was the best person for the job. A native of Inglewood, California, he graduated from the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV and later started his own company, Ketter Law Offices.
If elected, Ketter wants to improve cooperation between the different municipal courts in the region and wants the court to be more accessible.
“I think too often people have this deer thing in their headlights when they go to court,” he said. “There is a lack of information, a lack of knowledge about how the court works. And I think we need to do a better job with that.