It makes it look like everything is fine and dandy in our beautiful Las Vegas — the “country” where people come on vacation and leave on probation — when nothing is further from the truth. In fact, if you think I’m a person with a “conspiracy theory mentally,” like your outgoing sheriff likes to refer to me, read From the Desk of Gordon Martines on the front page of this week’s edition of the Las Vegas Tribune.
At least Martines is on the same page that I am; he talks on his radio show every Tuesday and Thursday at eleven in the morning at our studio (radiotribune.com, and this is not a commercial for his radio show), and every week he writes about the victims of our present police system and the problems and concerns of our local residents.
One would think that as a successful local attorney appearing in local courts on a daily basis, Mace would have many interesting local stories to write about, but why doesn’t he? Well, I can tell you why.
Take a look at the infamous coroner’s inquest that for years has been the laughing stock of the district attorneys office and police administration to the point where they had to change its designation to some very long tiresome name that no one can remember and many do not even pay any attention to any more.
Just last Monday, at the County Commission Chamber, there was one of those “shows” (with that new, big long name that’s replaced the one we all know) going on. I was watching it in my office, but about an hour into the show I decided to go there and ask some questions of some of the people involved in the charade. Unfortunately, by the time I had driven the five minutes from my office to the County building, the whole thing had ended.
While watching the inquest in my office, I noticed the lack of attendees; not even police officers were there; no one representing police administrators that I could recognize, and at the back of the room sitting all by himself, there was the newly re-elected district attorney, Steve Wolfson.
I remember a few years back when the room was full of police officers, some in plainclothes but displaying their guns and their badges above their huge bellies — courtesy of Blueberry Hill restaurants — to intimidate the witnesses and the family of the person they murdered.
In last Monday’s inquest, I counted only five people and no police officers.
At my arrival to the “show,” I was told by a county spokesperson that the event was over, and I was surprised to learn that there is no longer a (however false) ruling. I asked what the ruling was, and was told that there are no longer rulings; “they just hear the facts and that is it,” the county spokesperson told me, and continued hosting the crew of a local television station that I interrupted with my question.
If there is no ruling, why waste the money on creating such a spectacle? Why insult the people’s intelligence making a few of them believe that something different will come of it?
This coroner’s inquest, police fatality review process, or whatever they want to call it, is nothing but a sham and needs to be eliminated; we can then give that money to help the homeless get off the streets. The new name alone is a complete disrespect for the community; they call it a “public review panel,” but there is no public input or questions, only an ombudsman representing the public and probably asking only the questions the district attorney’s office allows him to ask.
There is the case of the woman with a medical marijuana card that lost custody of her children because a deputy district attorney showed up at the woman’s doctor’s office and prohibited her from testifying in court on behalf of her patient. Do you think that the doctor will stick to her original statement? Think again!
There is also the case of a doctor who received a visit from a police officer who told him that he had to change his statement because with
the doctor’s statement the way it was they (the police) would not have a case and the parolee would walk.
There is also the case where the police wanted people to “create,” “fabricate,” or “whatever you want to call it” information about a target they wanted to crucify.
Can you imagine a local attorney fighting for the client’s rights in court? Of course not! It never happens, not even with those attorneys that are considered high profile attorneys — expensive attorneys that charge a good chunk of money and as soon as the check clears (if there is a check; sometimes they require cash only) they give the “good news” to the client that they were “able to convince the prosecutor to accept a deal for a lesser charge” and they can walk.
Attorneys do not tell their clients that it is THE PROSECUTOR who offers the deal because they want the client to think they are working on the client’s behalf for a better outcome. Attorneys in Las Vegas DO NOT believe that their client is innocent; they assume that everyone is guilty and the police do not lie so the prosecutors are humble enough to offer a deal.
It’s been my humble opinion that attorneys in Las Vegas do not know how to walk into a courtroom and fight for the clients; in fact, sometimes they do not even know the client until they show up in court and start paging their client, paid up or not.
One time I was sitting in a restaurant with my dear friend, the late Bucky Buchanan, and a man approached me asking me if I knew a good local attorney. I told the man that it all depends on what he needs a lawyer for. I told him if it is for anything from a parking ticket to a traffic violation, any attorney in Las Vegas will do. But for criminal or felony charges, not so, unless he wanted to plead guilty to whatever the prosecutor decides for the client.
What the attorney does not tell the client is that what he is paying for is a legal band-aid, for getting him out of his present trouble, guilty or not, but he will still have a criminal record and then he’ll have to pay extra to the attorney to clean up his record which was created by the attorney’s bad advice in the first place. Wait… let me back up a little: it is not to clean up the record; it is ONLY to seal the record to fulfill the ego of society and to blindfold the client’s concern for his/her reputation because the police keep the client’s record for future reference, just in case they need to “blackmail” that client if they need certain information or a door-opener in some other case.
What really bothers me is when people tell me that I may have a point in what I am saying, but our system is still the best system in world.
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
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