My Point of View: By Rolando Larraz
We were consistent and positive in our opinion of Justice of the Peace Joseph Sciscento, AKA Joe Sciscento, when he allowed a murderer that other liberal judges had allowed being free with an ankle monitor without paying a single penny of bail because we, at this newspaper, knew that Judge Joseph Sciscento was not aware, nor informed, that Victor Cruz had shot an unarmed man in the back, causing his death.
I was shocked, but not surprised, when I learned that Judge Joe Sciscento had taken Victor Cruz off his ankle monitor and allowed him a one-way trip to New Jersey for a graduation event. I say ‘one-way’ because I don’t believe the judge should assume the man was coming back.
Shocked because nothing surprises me when it comes to justice in Clark County; surprised because I could not picture Judge Joseph Sciscento being impressed with a powerful law group to make that ruling, but the more I learned about Judge Joseph Sciscento after the front page lead article two weeks ago brought several calls commenting on their experiences with the judge, I agreed with Sunny Day’s headline about the judge suffering from black robe fever, allowing his court marshal to do the dirty job for him.
First I learned that Judge Joe Sciscento is no longer Joe, his name is now Joseph (and don’t you forget), reminding me of a County commissioner always known to his friends as Larry Weekly, yet today he reminds everyone that he’s Lawrence Weekly.
Then I learned of a man Judge Sciscento has known forever, who knows his cell number, his home number and where to find him, but waits until that man appears in “his” courtroom and when the man approaches the bench and tried to shake hands with the judge he found a cold wall instead and heard the man in the black robe say, “I am not shaking hands with you” and then went on to explain why in open court with an open mike on high volume.
After learning of several other stories after Joe Sciscento became Judge Joseph Sciscentos, I dared to put two and two together and wonder if the fact that Victor Cruz’s attorney, Tony Sgro, with a prominent political law group had anything to do with the ruling of Judge Joseph Sciscento in the case where an innocent unarmed man was shot to death in the back and his killer was allowed to walk free.
Can anyone explain how Victor Cruz appears as an inmate with the Clark County Detention Center with ID number and case number when in reality
the man is living at his home, enjoying the pleasures of his wife and family life?
The first two-court appearance ruling was understandable because police wrote the court papers and prosecutors were more interested in serving the client of Tony Sgro than serving justice. Everyone wonders how the case was not upgraded to murder with a deadly weapon when the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police witnessed the coroner’s autopsy of Raul Moran, which stated homicide.
Before Judge Joseph Sciscento used the services of his puppet marshal to throw me out of “his courtroom” I would have thought that after learning the truth about the case of Victor Cruz, Judge Joseph Sciscento would have reversed all the “towel throwing” onto Victor Cruz and ordered his immediate arrest, booking him on murder charges.
Why not? and now I am asking the question that I could have asked Judge Joseph Sciscento in private after he treated me like a second class citizen, disrespected my freedom of the press privilege to ask questions, and allowed his “second banana court marshal” to play the game so well.
Tony Sgro is a typical Las Vegas attorney: never returns a phone call, grabs all the money he can from a future client and the day of the first court appearance (if the client is lucky enough) he will show up in court paging Mr. so and so because he never met his client before that day.
I wonder how much money Tony Sgro and his professional law group has donated to Judge Joseph Sciscento or Judge Ann Zimmerman’s campaign for election or reelection.
Why drag my friend Ann Zimmerman into this mess? You may wonder. First because it is my understanding that Judge Ann Zimmerman is now in charge of setting bail for defendants and the fact that she has not returned my calls when she has always called me back before, which makes me wonder, as it makes me wonder why another judge, Chief Judge Suzan Baucum, who this newspaper has always supported regardless of the fact that her campaign manager is a marijuana businessman, also ignores my telephone calls.
It is a fact that news travels fast in the courthouse and maybe they do not want to get involved in arguments with another judge, but I am an adult, I do not need to go crying to other judges just because one judge asked me to leave “his courtroom” because they are not in a position to change an opinion of other judges and being a chief judge is a pathetic position full of obligations with no power to tell other judges what to do or not to do besides the fact that I am a friend of those I think are my friends and never put them in any uncomfortable position for me.
It is a sad picture that people don’t understand that the Cruz/Moran case is not the only case the Las Vegas Tribune is interested in.
There are a lot more cases of interest on the judicial agenda. Judge Joseph Sciscento needs to do the right thing and take the Victor Cruz’s out of our community, placing him in the hands of the Clark County Detention Center, whether his attorney’s name is Tony Sgro or not.
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 702-272-4634.