I can remember back in the days when people arrived to Las Vegas airport wearing a mob uniform — black suit, black shirt, white tie, a hat and sun glasses — because everyone wanted to look like the mob stereotype in the movies. The newscasts outside Las Vegas would not give out the temperature in our city, and they hoped the mob image —gambling, showgirls and “all types of vices” — would be contagious for these who visited the best city of them all.
Now we learned of The Mob’s influence on Wall Street that prompted author Harry Brooks to write another timely and interesting story, getting one more under his belt.
His latest publication, “The Money, the Mob, and Wall Street” (published by Xlibris) is the story of Wade Simon, a standout basketball player from UNLV, who, after graduating from college, goes to work on Wall Street and eventually becomes the CEO of a Wall Street brokerage firm. There he is introduced to the world of fast-talking scam artists and white-collar criminals.
It has always been my belief that people come to Las Vegas to do what they don’t have the courage to do in their own hometown.
People do not come to Las Vegas to go to church; our city has more churches per capita than any other city, but people do not come to Las Vegas to go to church.
People do not come here to attend a baptism, unless some relatives from out of town come here to baptize a child, like my brother did with his daughter, because he wanted me to be his daughter’s godfather, even if my name is not Don Corleone.
People used to come to Las Vegas to party, to go crazy and get in trouble because they assumed that because we have gambling, booze and broads our city is a Wild West city… yet nothing is further from the truth; that is why people come here on vacation and leave (if they are allowed to leave) on probation.
I know of a young man that came here with a bunch of fellow architects for a reunion; a woman tagged along for hours and when he did not want to pay for her services, she accused him of intent of sexual assault and even if his DNA was not in her system, he is now doing ten years in our state prison.
Remember, I have told you on many occasions that prosecutors in Clark County refuse to lose a case; they have to win every case at all costs and this young architect is not an exception to the rule.
DNA can clear people of the crime they have not committed only after at least doing ten years MINIMUM in the state penitentiary.
Let’s not forget that poor innocent young lady name Kirstin Lobato who was not even in Las Vegas when the man she is supposed to have killed was murdered and the judge in the case, Valorie Vega, did not allow the jury to know that she was not anywhere near Las Vegas when the crime was committed.
Judge Vega did not allow a DNA test to be presented before, during, or after the long trial because “the prosecution cannot be embarrassed with a negative DNA that could prove her innocence.”
Whenever I asked the District Attorney and others at the prosecution table why they wouldn’t allow the DNA test if they were so sure that she is guilty, they always told me that the trial is over and there is no need to spend the money on a DNA test.
But the county and/or the state of Nevada would not be responsible for the cost of the DNA test because the national organization Innocence Project has offered to take care of the cost of the testing. Even the organization Justice Denied was willing to pay for the testing.
222,600 signatures were collected asking two Clark County District Attorney’s administrations to allow DNA testing for Kirstin Blaise Lobato to no avail.
She placed her belief in the justice system after several of the best attorneys in the nation were on her side; she ended up being convicted of a crime that she did not commit.
Kirstin Blaise Lobato was convicted on October 6, 2006 of voluntary manslaughter and other charges related to Mr. Bailey’s homicide and she was sentenced to 13 to 35 years in prison at the tender age of 18 and she is still doing someone else’s time.
Duran Bailey was a homeless man whose body was found “around 10 p.m.” on July 8, 2001, behind a dumpster in the exterior trash enclosure of a bank near the Las Vegas Strip; it was determined from Mr. Bailey’s autopsy that he died as a result of Blunt Head Trauma.
A minimum-wage convenience store clerk who lies under oath in court can be convicted of perjury and sentenced to prison. In contrast, a highly paid lawyer can fearlessly lie his or her head off when publicly appearing before the Nevada Supreme Court.
We know that because of what occurred during oral arguments before the full Nevada Supreme Court on September 9, 2014 concerning Kirstin Blaise Lobato’s habeas corpus appeal. The attorney representing the State of Nevada — Clark County Assistant District Attorney Steven S. Owens — repeatedly lied about issues related to Ms. Lobato’s case as
it was published on the front page of the Las Vegas Tribune on November 13 of last year.
“The Supreme Court has the authority to hold Owens in contempt of court for his dishonest and deceptive conduct and impose sanctions, and to refer him to the State Bar of Nevada for investigation. Owens’ unrestrained dishonesty that denied Ms. Lobato her right to a fair hearing is ‘good cause’ for the Court to exercise its authority to sua sponte strike his arguments from consideration of her appeal.
“The Nevada Supreme Court should hold Steven S. Owens accountable for his contemptible conduct and take the most extreme actions possible to protect Ms. Lobato’s rights, and the integrity of the Court and its deliberation process,” wrote Hans Sheerer, the President of the Justice Institute in the front page article he penned for the Las Vegas Tribune.
The Justice Institute is based in Seattle, Washington, and promotes awareness of wrongful conviction and conducted a post-conviction investigation of Ms. Lobato’s case.
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him at: Rlarraz@lasvegastribune.com or at 702-868-NEWS (6397)