Judge McMorris won’t seek re-election
Judge Steven McMorris never had any challengers. He ran unopposed four times. On Thursday, McMorris regretfully announced he would not seek re-election in 2001 due to family considerations.
“Sometimes fate really does push you where you need to go,” McMorris said. “It’s a decision I’ve been pushing off, but it had to be made.”
McMorris said he decided to announce his decision early to give prospective candidates time to consider running before the filing period of May 1-15. McMorris’s wife, Germaine, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year. McMorris said her doctors recommended they move out of the snow for Germaine’s safety. The couple will move to the Carson Valley at the end of the year.
“It’s going to be very difficult to leave Lake Tahoe,” McMorris said. “It has been my pleasure to serve the residents of Tahoe Township as their judge.”
McMorris has been the head of the Tahoe Township Justice Court for 18 years. He has presided over everything from fugitive dogs to homicide cases.
“I have never been bored,” McMorris said with a smile. “You just marvel sometimes. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something comes along to correct you.
“So many people who come through here are not criminals, per se. They are just people with problems and some of them are one-time problems.”
Before his appointment to the bench in 1981, McMorris served as a Douglas County deputy district attorney and later was elected as the county’s District Attorney, another election that he won without opposition. Although mindful of his elected status, McMorris said his approach to justice never changed.
“I always believed that you should conduct yourself in the same manner throughout your term. One plus of running unopposed is that I never received any campaign contributions,” he said. “I never had to worry about someone coming before me who had contributed to my campaign.”
Deputy District Attorney Alan Buttell, the prosecutor assigned to the lake, said McMorris offers strong leadership.
“He is a man of uncommon abilities with exemplary integrity and a sense of honor that I felt made his service on the bench a pleasure to witness,” Buttell said.
McMorris, 60, said despite his decision he is far from retirement.
“I’m not the type to sit around. I’d go crazy. I plan on working as a pro tem judge and arbitrator. Don’t say good-bye to me because I’ll be around the courthouse in one way or another.”
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