Phil Ivey’s Divorce Fuels Contributions Argument
The high profile divorce case involving professional poker player Phil Ivey has added fuel to the argument going on at the Nevada Supreme Court. The court is now considering whether or not it is approrpriate for judges to oversee court cases that involve people from whom they have accepted campaign contributions.
Earlier this week the state high court heard 45 minutes of arguments by Luciaetta Ivey, Phil Ivey’s ex wife, alleging that decisions by a family court judge who had handled the divorce case were tainted by a $5,000 campaign donation.
Judges in the state of Nevada are elected, and must raise money to run. Chief Justice Michael Cherry believes that a rule blocking contributions to judicial campaigns might violate free speech rights, and also said that any decision made as a result of the arguments could affect the 2014 campaigns of all 82 district court judges working in Nevada.
Currently, individuals are allowed to donate up to $10,000 to a judicial candidate, and there have been many cases of people claiming that judges favour people (and law firms) that have donated to their campaigns.
Multiple World Series of Poker Bracelet holder Phil Ivey was given an uncontested divorce by Judge William Gonzalez,a judge that both Ivey, and his divorce lawyer, had donated money to. While the contributions might create an image of impropriety, the couple had no children, and was not made until after the divorce, so many in the state feel that there is no case against the judge in this instance.