Las Vegas Municipal Court runs a dictatorial system

By Rolando Larraz
Las Vegas Tribune

The rumor around the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas is that anyone who goes to municipal traffic court is not exempt from punishment and has to pay a fine because everyone is guilty, no matter what.
Municipal traffic court is run by a “commissioner,” not a judge like any other normal court system, and that commissioner is in cahoots with an obscure city attorney named Anthony Ruggiero forcing everyone to plead guilty regardless of whether or not they are guilty, and they have to pay a fine. A very democratic system!
Four people pled nolo contendere, which is the equivalent of pleading guilty, and all four paid ninety seven dollars regardless of the type of infraction they had committed.
Between the city attorney and the alleged commissioner the supposed “defendant” has a choice: plead guilty and pay the ninety seven dollars or go to trial, plead not guilty, lose the case and pay an even more astronomical amount of money for having the audacity to confront the city attorney in fighting for their rights.
An arrogant city attorney by the name of Anthony Ruggiero pulled the defendant into a little closet he calls a room and explained that he wanted “to be fair” or wanted “to be nice” to that person and therefore offered the deal, “Pay ninety seven dollars and call it even with no record, no points on your record (supposedly) and no raising of the insurance premium.”
For a person who ran a stop sign or a yellow (amber) or red light, were caught speeding in a school zone, or for any other traffic infraction, it is a good deal and the punishment is not as bad as the infraction or the law-breaking behavior.
It is almost as a nolo contendere in Justice Court or District Court where the volume of cases reflects on th  eunishment (mediates it) and therefore makes the job of the District Attorney faster and easier.
But what happens when a very jealous police officer, B. Foster, badge number 16314, gives a Las Vegas resident a ticket on his own private property?
This time the story is too close to home; the victim of the police abuse is the writer of this story, yours truly, Rolando Larraz, the owner of the Las Vegas Tribune and the owner of Radio Tribune.
It is our understanding that police cannot write tickets on private property unless a real crime was committed, but of course, this is Las Vegas, the city known for creating the unfortunate motto that turns out to be true for so many: Come on vacation and leave on probation. Police officer B. Foster, badge number 16314, was driving in the opposite direction from me, but he was “able to see” that my license plate was expired so he followed me through the parking lot from my newspaper office on 10th Street to the Radio-Tribune office on 9th Street within my private property parking lot and turned his light on.
Because of the out-of-control homeless situation in the downtown area of City Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, the classic car that is parked at the newspaper office during the day is moved to the radio station’s office at night because there is always someone in that office to ward off anyone vandalizing the car or forcing the door open so they could sleep in it.
As soon as the officer’s light came on, it seemed as if it was a backup signal; four other cars surrounded my car and blocked me as if  I was going to run away, making me look like a fugitive of justice without yet being charged with any crime.
There was the big-mouthed officer by the name of R. Lopez who got upset because I asked him if he was Mexican. He almost bit my head off and told me to shut up. I wonder if he would be as tough and brave if he did not have on the khaki uniform, the badge and gun; I also wondered why he got so upset for being asked if he is Mexican. Did he think that he was better than a Mexican police officer? He definitely did not look Cuban like me.
I will take this case all the way to the Supreme Court, but I am not going to allow a “traffic commissioner,” a big-mouthed city attorney and a team of cowardly police officers to scare or intimidate me, forcing me to plead guilty to a crime I did not commit; it happened once but it will not happen again.

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