Alumni Spotlight: Judge Joseph Bonaventure '01

Judge Joseph Bonaventure

Tell us about your decision to attend Boyd School of Law.

I was born, raised, and educated entirely in Las Vegas. While attending UNLV for my undergraduate studies, I knew I wanted to attend law school, but the Boyd School of Law did not exist. Luckily, by the time I graduated, Boyd was just about to open; and I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the charter class. I am very happy that I did not have to leave Las Vegas. Of course, my law school days were spent in an elementary school across the street while the current law school facilities were being constructed, but it was a great experience.

How important is collaboration in your work?

In 2016, while serving as Chief Judge of the Las Vegas Justice Court, I formed the Clark County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC). The CJCC serves as a forum for criminal justice agencies, stakeholders, and community partners to collaborate; identify means to enhance the efficiency of criminal justice processes; and address public safety issues. I chaired the CJCC from its inception through 2018. The CJCC continues to meet regularly to identify, develop, and implement strategies to improve access to and administration of justice and achieve the highest level of public trust and confidence in the justice system.

Tell us about a turning point in your career.

My judicial philosophy changed when I was assigned a specialty court several years ago, specifically the DUI Treatment Court. It is a problem-solving court similar to a drug court. I currently preside over the Community Court. I believe such courts are an extremely effective way of handling criminal cases — a much more “smart-on-crime” approach.

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