Justices of the Peace

Judge Patricia A. Lynch - Dept. 1

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Patricia Lynch currently serves as a Judge in Reno Justice Court having been elected in November of 2006. Prior to becoming a judge, Ms. Lynch served as the elected Reno City Attorney from 1987 to 2006 serving an unprecedented five terms. Ms. Lynch has also served as a Deputy Attorney General, a Deputy Reno City Attorney, a Legislative Assistant in the US House of Representatives, a VISTA lawyer at Washoe Legal Services and was in private practice with James W. Hardesty. She is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno (B.A. Political Science) and the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific (J.D.). She is a graduate of the FBI National Academy for Prosecutors and Police Legal Advisors.

Ms. Lynch is past President of the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and a member and past chair of IMLA's International Committee. She is the Budget Officer for the State & Local Government Law Section of the American Bar Association. She is a member of the World Jurist Association and has participated in legal conferences in Kiev, Budapest, Dublin, Adelaide, Beijing, and Shanghai. She is a former President and cofounder of the Northern Nevada Women Lawyers Association and a member of Nevada Domestic Violence Prevention Council. She has served as an original member of both the Nevada Prosecution Advisory Council and the Nevada Commission on Domestic Violence. She is a former President of the Sierra Nevada Girl Scout Council.

Ms. Lynch received the 2006 Distinguished Public Lawyer Award from the International Municipal Lawyers Association and was honored as the Outstanding Woman Lawyer by the Northern Nevada Women Lawyers Association in 2005. She was honored as the Outstanding Public Lawyer by the Public Law Section of the State Bar of Nevada in 1999, and her office received the 2004 ABA Jefferson Fordham Award by the State and Local Government Law Section of the American Bar Association for being an outstanding public law office. She was the recipient of the Northern Nevada Martin Luther King Commission Award in 1989.

Judge Pete Sferrazza - Dept. 2

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Pete Sferrazza currently serves as a Judge in Reno Justice Court having been elected in November of 2008. Prior to becoming a judge, Pete served as the elected Reno Mayor from 1981 to 1995 serving an unprecedented 14 years. Judge Sferrazza currently serves as the Chief Judge of the Reno Justice Court overseeing the operation and administration of the six departments and employees. 

Pete has also served in the Peace Corps in Bahia, Brazil from 1969 to 1971, as a Marathon County Supervisor and Wausau, Wisconsin City Councilmen from 1974 to 1976, as Director of Nevada Indian Legal Services from 1976 to 1978, Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Washoe County Commissioner from 1998 to 2007, a Deputy Attorney for Injured workers, and was in private practice.

In addition Pete served as Tribal Judge for the Moapa Paiute, Yerington Paiute, Ely Shoshone, Intertribal Court of Appeals, Fallon Paiute-Shoshone, Pyramid Lake Paiute, Walker River Paiute, and the Washoe Tribe.

He is a graduate of Michigan State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, the University of Wisconsin Law School where he received his J.D. Degree and the John F. Kennedy School, at Harvard University.

Pete currently serves as the elected Secretary of the American Judges Association Board of Directors and as a member of the Nevada State-Federal Judicial Council. Formerly he served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties currently, Board of Directors Nevada Association of Counties currently, Vice-Chairman Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, Executive Board U.S. Conference of Mayors, Washoe County Board of Health, Board of Directors for the Nevada Legal Services, Board of Trustees for the William F. Harrah Automobile Museum, City Kids of Reno, Mayor's Youth Advisory Board, and Chairman of the Regional Governing Board.

Pete is admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, Nevada Supreme Court, Wisconsin Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, all of the Tribal Courts in the State of Nevada and the U.S. Tax Court.

Judge Ryan K. Sullivan - Dept. 3

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Judge Ryan Katherine Sullivan ran unopposed for the previously vacant seat in Department 3. Therefore, she was elected to the bench in June of 2016 and took office in January of 2017. Prior to joining Reno Justice Court, Ryan practiced indigent criminal defense at the Washoe County Public Defender’s office where she held the position of Chief Deputy. While Ryan represented a wide variety of clients in her 17 years at the public defender’s office, she primarily represented children and supervised a group of attorneys that also represented children. In addition, Ryan was the office’s Attorney Training Director, in charge of the office’s Continuing Legal Education programs, the Legal Intern Program, the Bail Project (in conjunction with the UNR Department of Criminal Justice) and had extensive policy, management and specialty court experience.

Ryan has spent significant periods of time teaching the law.  Prior to taking the bench, she taught Criminal Law and Procedure at UNR. She was also a regular instructor at the Northern Nevada Law Enforcement Academy, and was also an instructor at the Washoe County School District’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program. Ryan often speaks and writes on legal topics such as professionalism, ethics and stress-reduction for legal professionals.  Ryan is particularly interested in women and children’s issues and hopes to use her previous experiences working with youth and their families to improve the health and safety of our community.

Ryan grew up in Reno and attended Roy Gomm elementary school, Swope Middle School and graduated from Reno High School. She then majored in psychology at the University of Oregon and received her law degree from University of California at Davis School of Law. In her free time, Ryan enjoys attending her children’s swim meets, reading, and running along the Truckee River with her two dogs, Barley and Guinness.

Judge Scott E. Pearson - Dept. 4

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Judge Scott Pearson was elected to the bench in November of 2010 and retained in 2016. Judge Pearson currently serves as the presiding judge of the Washoe County Community Court and previously served as the presiding judge of the Court Compliance Program (CCP) from 2012 through 2016. At the time, CCP was the fourth largest problem solving court in the State serving hundreds of participants a year. The CCP program helps defendants address their substance abuse and mental health issues while finding safe housing and stable employment. In 2013 Judge Pearson created the first Community Court in Nevada which provides a diversion program allowing qualifying participants to have their case dismissed and sealed after completing a rehabilitation program. Judge Pearson has also created special dockets to help defendants engaged in the sex trades and younger members of our community, especially those addicted to heroin. In 2015 Judge Pearson was named Politician of the Year for his humanitarian efforts in the community.

Judge Pearson was elected Chief Judge of the court in 2013 and again in 2014. During this time many improvements were made at the court to better serve the public. Operating hours were expanded so that the Court is now open more hours to the public than any court in the State. The Court also began offering electronic filing of court documents, online payments and a traffic ticket amnesty program so citizens with warrants for traffic tickets could resolve them without being arrested. During his time as chief Judge Pearson also worked with the County Commission to cover a vacancy on the bench for a savings of approximately $500,000 to the community.

In 2013 Judge Pearson was elected by his peers to the Judicial Council and the Specialty Court Funding Committee. He also currently serves on the language access committee, forms subcommittee, pre-trial reform committee and bail subcommittee.

Prior to taking the bench, Judge Pearson was a deputy district attorney in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office from July of 1999 until taking the bench in January of 2011. Judge Pearson handled all types of criminal cases from traffic tickets to gang murder prosecutions and was assigned to the Major Violators Unit at the time of his election. During his years at the DA's Office, Judge Pearson was also a regular instructor at the police academy on many areas of the US Constitution and Nevada criminal procedure.

For many years, Judge Pearson served as a scoring judge in the area’s high school mock trial competition and later was chosen as a presiding judge for the local and state competitions. In 2010 Judge Pearson began serving as a scoring judge for the We the People constitutional program. He has served a judge for local elementary schools as well as the high school regional, state and national finals in Washington D.C. Judge Pearson also chairs the Reno/Sparks Rotary Club's Most Improved Student/Achievement Beyond Obstacles scholarship committee which honors students from each of the area high schools that have overcome great obstacles to graduate. All of these students receive leadership training and mentor support and the clubs award more than $20,000 in scholarships annually.

Judge Pearson was raised in Reno where he attended local public schools, Roger Corbett, Vaughn and Reed and later graduated from the University of Nevada with an economics degree, with distinction. Judge Pearson is also a graduate of the University of Utah College of Law where he was a Learey Scholar. Upon graduation Judge Pearson was honored to serve a judicial clerkship for Judge Janet J. Berry at the Second Judicial District Court.

In his free time Judge Pearson enjoys coaching youth sports. In the past ten years he has been the head coach or assistant coach for more than 25 youth sports teams in leagues for the Boys and Girls Club, Great Basin Youth Soccer, Sparks Rec, Sierra Nevada Basketball, Northern Nevada Sports and Rec., and the Reno Continental Little League where he served as a board member for many years. Judge Pearson has been married to Kristy Pearson, a local school teacher, since 1998 and has two boys he enjoys skiing and traveling with.

Judge David Clifton - Dept. 5

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David Clifton serves as Justice of the Peace in Department 5 of the Reno Justice Court, having been elected in 2010. A resident of the City of Reno since 1964, he attended local schools, including the University of Nevada, Reno, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 1980.

Judge Clifton obtained a Juris Doctor Degree from the McGeorge School of Law of the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, California, in 1983. He served as the law clerk for the Honorable James J. Guinan in the Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada from 1983 to 1984. Upon completion of his clerkship, he secured a position as an associate attorney in the Reno law firm of Sala, McAuliffe, White and Long.

In 1986 he was hired by Washoe County District Attorney Mills Lane to prosecute criminal cases. He was promoted to Chief Deputy Criminal Attorney in 1994 and held that position until 2009. In 1996 he originated and supervised the office’s Domestic Violence Team and was also in charge of the Sex Crimes Unit for over ten years.

From 1994 to 2009, Judge Clifton was a member of the Washoe County Domestic Violence Task Force and from 2007 to 2009 was Chairman of the Washoe County Fatality Review Committee, serving under the direction of that Task Force. He was also Treasurer of the Washoe County Public Attorney’s Association from 1995 to 2009.

In addition to prosecuting many high-profile cases within Washoe County, Judge Clifton was also heavily involved in teaching and training peace officers, investigators and prosecutors, as well as members of the judiciary, at various academies, colleges, seminars and conferences throughout Nevada and at other sites within the United States.

Judge Pierre Hascheff - Dept. 6

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Judge Hascheff graduated from Bishop Manogue High School in 1972. He attended the University of Nevada, Reno, from 1972 to 1976. He was a member of the University of Nevada football team.

After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, he worked for a CPA firm for approximately one year and then went to law school at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. While attending night school, he worked for a CPA firm during the day.

Upon graduating from McGeorge School of Law in 1982, he continued to work for a CPA firm while he obtained his Master’s Degree in tax law at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California.

He went on to obtain his CPA license in both Nevada and California. Upon obtaining his Master’s Degree in 1983, he returned to Reno and worked for Sierra Pacific Power Company as In-House Counsel. He also worked for Sherman & Howard, a regional law firm from Denver, Colorado, specializing in business and tax matters in their local Reno office. He later went into private practice with his two partners, and he eventually started his own firm.

He has practiced law for a total of 28 years and also served as a Reno City Councilman for 20 years before his election to the bench in November 2012. During his years of public service, he served on several Boards and Commissions where he received several commendations and public service awards. Some of his past Boards include Junior Achievement, Washoe County School District Oversight Panel, Reno and Washoe County Senior Advisory Boards, Reno Access Advisory Board and Regional Governing Board.