Justices of the Peace
Vacant - Dept. 1
With the retirement of Judge Dreiling as of 1/6/2023, Department 1 is vacant.
Judge Kendra Bertschy - Dept. 2
Judge Ryan K. Sullivan - Dept. 3
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
Judge Scott Pearson was elected to his current position on the bench in November of 2010. During his tenure Judge Pearson has championed many improvements designed to serve the community in an equitable and just manner by increasing access to justice, efficiency and accountability in the courts and providing a pathway to success for the court participants. Within months of taking the bench he was presiding over the largest misdemeanor treatment court in the state. 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 court dockets to help younger members of our community engaged in the sex trades and those addicted to heroin as well as DUI and Domestic Battery programs. In 2015 he was part of the Life Saver’s award winning team that brought the Sober 24 program to the County and with it a new level of structure and support for those most in need. In 2015 Judge Pearson was also named Politician of the Year by the Human Services Network for his humanitarian programs in the community. Since taking the bench, Judge Pearson has also received one of the highest performance and retention scores in the biannual judicial rating survey conducted by the Washoe County Bar Association.
Judge Pearson has been elected or appointed to various leadership roles in the judiciary. He currently serves as a Regional Judicial Outreach Liaison with the American Bar Association Judicial Division, as well as Chairman of the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Committee of the American Judges Association where he is also a member of the board of governors and vice-president of the American Judges Foundation. Judge Pearson is faculty at the National Judicial College, a regular speaker at the Nevada judicial education conferences and served as a presiding judge at the National Trial Academy. He has also been elected or appointed by his peers in Nevada to the following statewide committees: Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics, Nevada Judicial Council, Evidence Based Pretrial Release Committee, Specialty Court Funding Committee, Language Access Committee, Legislative Committee, and the Bail Subcommittee.
Prior to taking the bench, Judge Pearson was a deputy district attorney where he 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 to the bench. While at the DA’s office Judge Pearson was a regular instructor at the police academy on many areas of the US Constitution and Nevada criminal procedure.
Judge Pearson has spent decades helping our youth. Through the Kids Court program thousands of fifth grade students every year participate in a field trip to the court where they learn about the judicial system, conduct a mock trial and get to ask inmates, in person, about the mistakes they have made and how best not to repeat them. Judge Pearson also volunteers for the high school mock trial competition and the We the People constitutional competition in many roles including assistant coach, scoring judge and presiding judge at the regional, state, and national competitions. Judge Pearson has also been the head coach or assistant coach for more than 25 youth sports teams and is also a Rotarian where he has served as a board member and chairman of the Reno/Sparks Rotary Club's Achievement Beyond Obstacles scholarship committee which honors students from area high schools that have overcome great obstacles with leadership training, mentor support and financial scholarships.
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. 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
David Clifton serves as Justice of the Peace in Department 5 of the Reno Justice Court, having been elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2017. 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
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.