On January 1, 2014, Judge Navarro became Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Nevada. Chief Judge Navarro was nominated by President Barack Obama on December 24, 2009 (Christmas Eve) to United States District Judge for the District of Nevada. She was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate on May 5, 2010 (Cinco de Mayo) and took the oath as a United States District Judge on May 25, 2010. She was recommended for the bench by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid while she was serving as a Chief Deputy District Attorney for Clark County in the Civil Division where she defended Clark County and the Board of County Commissioners from various civil lawsuits, including section 1983 Civil Rights cases and Employment Law cases from 2005 to 2010. She litigated cases primarily in federal district court and in the ninth circuit but also litigated a civil trial in state court using a rarely used statute successfully removing Clark County Recorder Frances Deane from elected office for acts of criminal misconduct.
Chief Judge Navarro has been a member of the Ninth Circuit I.T. Committee for the past three years, and was recently appointed by Chief Justice Roberts to sit on the national JCUS I.T. Committee.
Prior to joining the District Attorney’s Office, Chief Judge Navarro was a Clark County Deputy Special Public Defender from 2001-2005 exclusively representing indigent clients charged with murder and facing the death penalty. During this time, she was also named Pro Bono Public Lawyer of the Year, an honor that was awarded by the State Bar of Nevada Access to Justice Committee after she received the Louis Wiener Pro Bono Service Award for her pro bono representation of a non-English speaking victim of domestic violence.
In the 1990’s, Chief Judge Navarro ran her own successful law firm representing clients charged with both state and federal criminal offenses as well as clients seeking relief in Family Court. She was awarded consecutive conflict attorney contracts with the Eighth Judicial District Court and was also appointed by the U.S. District Court of Nevada to provide indigent defense services as a Criminal Justice Act Panel (CJA) Attorney. Other legal positions Chief Judge Navarro has held include: Associate Attorney with the law firm of Kelly & Sullivan, Ltd., Research and Writing Specialist with the Office of the Nevada Federal Public Defender, Law Clerk for the Nevada Appellate and Post-Conviction Project, Legal Extern to the Honorable Philip M. Pro, of the Federal District Court of Nevada and Law Clerk for the Arizona Capital Representation Project.
Chief Judge Navarro is a Las Vegas native of Cuban descent who is fluent in Spanish. She has authored several articles, including “Cultural Factors and the Voluntariness of Statements” and “Criminal Defense and the Consequences of Immigration Law.” Judge Navarro has also been a speaker for the Criminal Justice Act Panel Attorneys on the topic of “How to Effectively Represent Non-English Speaking Clients and/or Clients with a Different Cultural Background.”
She has always enjoyed being actively involved in her community. She is a 2003 Graduate of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program and served as a panel speaker and Co-Chaired the program’s Criminal Justice Day numerous times. She is also a Past-President of the Latino Bar Association of Southern Nevada where she assisted La Voz, the Boyd School of Law Hispanic Law Student Association, to launch a mentorship program called Huellas (“footprints” in Spanish) which was awarded the 2008 Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Law Student Organization of the Year Award. Prior to her appointment to the bench, Chief Judge Navarro also served on the Advisory Board of the Nevada branch of the national non-profit Youth Advocacy Program (YAP, Inc.) and was on the Executive Board of DJs for PJs, a non-profit organization which over the years has collected and distributed more than 40,000 pajamas to children in need at Child Haven, Boy’s and Girl’s Town, Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation, S.A.F.E. House, Safe Nest, The Shade Tree Shelter, Variety Early Learning Center and Women’s Development Center.
Chief Judge Navarro has also been a Volunteer Instructor for the Las Vegas Junior Achievement Program, providing 4th grade students with an introduction to business and a volunteer Mock Interviewer for Yes, Inc., a Foothills High School program that simulates a business environment where students interview for jobs and she has participated in their Job shadow program. She has also been a summer Mentor for the Summer Business Institute and a Volunteer Instructor of Criminal Law and Co-Counsel to high school students for Trial By Peers, a Clark County Bar Association alternative resolution program for juvenile offenders. Judge Navarro assisted in providing training to Mexican prosecutors and their investigators as part of a program coordinated by the Nevada Attorney General’s Office to assist the Mexican agency as they undertake significant judicial reforms.