odd to see a hysterical Deputy District Attorney jumping up and down
trying to convince the judge not to hear a motion filed by the
defendant’s new attorney, Carl Potter.
There were many odd scenes in the courtroom last Friday when a motion
for a new trial for Manuel Melendez was being heard.
courtroom and the family of the victim was on the other side, but this
time both family members were there for the same purpose: to bring
justice to a wrongdoing by the ex-wife of Melendez.
In a very unprofessional manner and with blatant disrespect for the
judge, the courtroom, and even the office of the District Attorney
they represent, two of the deputy’s district attorneys opposing the
new trial for Melendez — Danielle Piper and Christopher Pandelis —
were raising their voices to the judge and talking to each other while
the judge was addressing the prosecutors, trying to explain the reason
why he was going to rule in favor of the motion filed by Potter.
Manuel Melendez is doing time in a Nevada prison because his ex-wife
accused him of molesting her minor granddaughter who was under her
care while the child’s mother was not available to so care for the
When the child’s mother came back and found out what had happened, she
started investigating and realized that the grandmother —
defendant-now ex-wife — had created the scenario when Melendez told
her he was leaving her and filed for a divorce.
The mother of the child contacted the Melendez family (brothers and
sisters) and told them she did not believe Melendez had done the
horrendous crime he was accused of and for which he is now doing time.
The mother of the child, while on the witness stand, told Judge Bixler
that her mother has a pattern of accusing people of child molestation
and even tried to do that when her father was divorcing her mother.
“My mother tried to convince us that our father had molested us, but
we have no recollection of such a thing,” the child’s mother testified
on behalf of Melendez.
The testimony of the alleged victim’s mother resulted in both the lead
prosecutor and the co-chair to start laughing to the extreme that the
Las Vegas Tribune representative touched Pandelis on his right
shoulder and asked him what was so funny, to which the deputy district
attorney responded: “She is,” pointing to the witness.
The Las Vegas Tribune learned from someone who attended the first
Melendez trial that the lead prosecutor carried the same disrespectful
attitude toward the judge and the court by laughing all the time
during the first trial.
Commenting on the incident with an outside attorney out of the
courtroom, the attorney told the Las Vegas Tribune that such behavior
could have been possible during the David Roger tenure as District
Attorney, but “if I did not see it with my own eyes, I would find it
difficult to believe under District Attorney Steve Wolfson,” who is
well known for his respect for the court system and even for the
Attorney Carl Potter, questioning Melendez’ former attorney, Kalani
Hoo, now a judge in North Las Vegas Justice Court, did a very thorough
and respectable job of proving to Judge Bixler that Judge Hoo had
given Melendez a very inefficient legal representation during the
That same unidentified attorney in front of Judge Bixler in his
courtroom told the Las Vegas Tribune that perhaps District Attorney
Steve Wolfson needs to keep an eye on these two Deputies to make sure
that they are not tainting the reputation of his office.