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Las Vegas judge faces discipline charges over hot tub photo

Judge Erika Ballou (left) and two public defenders (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline)
Judge Erika Ballou (left) and two public defenders (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline)

A Nevada judge is facing two disciplinary charges over “inappropriate” social media posts including a photo of herself in a hot tub with two public defenders.

Clark County District Court Judge Erika Ballou was accused of violating the state’s judicial conduct code on two separate occasions, according to a 24 January filing.

The first incident happened nine months after she was sworn in as district court judge in January 2021, the court documents state.

Judge Ballou was at a music festival in September 2021 and allegedly wrote “an inappropriate statement about her judicial duties on social media”.

She posted a selfie on Instagram with the caption: “Life is STILL beautiful, despite the fact that Billie Eilish doesn’t START for 30 minutes and I have an 8:30 calendar tomorrow.”

She added the hashtag: “#VacateTheSh*tOuttaOutofCustodyCases.”

The charging document asserts that her Instagram post violated a series of rules in the code of conduct, which requires judges to promote “public confidence in the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety”. The code also mandates that judicial duties “take precedence over all of a judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities”.

On the second occasion, in April 2022, the filing states that the judge again shared a post under the hashtag: “#VacateTheShitOuttaOutofCustodyCases”.

Judge Erika Ballou (left) and two public defenders (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline)
Judge Erika Ballou (left) and two public defenders (Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline)

In that post, Judge Ballou posted a photo on Facebook of herself and two public defenders — Shana Brouwers and Robson Hauser — in a hot tub. She allegedly captioned the photo: “Robson is surrounded by great t**s.”

This post, according to the filing, was in violation of more rules, including not conveying “the impression that any person or organization is in a position to influence the judge”.

After the charges were announced, KLAS reported that Judge Ballou posted on Facebook, quoting Cardi B’s song: “Get Up10.”

“Went from makin’ tuna sandwiches to makin’ the news. I started speakin’ my mind and tripled my views,” she allegedly wrote.

The Independent has reached out to the Clark County courts and the county’s public defender’s office for comment.