My good friend Patricia Bascom celebrated her birthday last Saturday with a wonderful dinner prepared by her two daughters, opening a few presents and answering phone calls from her many friends that called to wish her to a happy birthday. And we, at the Las Vegas Tribune, also wish Patty a very happy birthday.
* * * * *
On last Monday, when I was getting ready to start writing this column, I learned that Officer Jesus Arevalo was due in court in one hour, this time as a defendant, because his ex-wife, Catherine Arevalo, and her new boyfriend, Steven Delao, filed a restraining order against the police officer for harassment, abuse and many other things.
I got the news a short time before he was due in court and rushed to the Regional Justice Center to report on this interesting case, on which I did a front page article.
Later, I started looking at other issues involving the case; but what really bothers me, and I don’t know why, is the lack of respect shown by Officer Arevalo to the court, and to the judge specifically.
Maybe because I am old, or because I was raised differently, but from a very young age I was told that we have to respect our elders and those in authority, such as police and judges; and later in my career, I kept that in mind.
I have criticized many judges during my career; I have disagreed with many other judges, but I have never been in court without a jacket and a tie because I am strong believer that that robe the judge wears deserves respect and if one does not agree with the judge’s ruling, the next step is to appeal.
Assuming that not everyone has a jacket and a tie, and even assuming that the person may be going to work after the court appearance and does not have a place to keep that court attire, the least they can do is to look presentable and show respect to the judge.
Officer Jesus Arevalo displayed a great deal of arrogance by walking the aisle to where the judge sat dressed in a T-shirt that looked like it needed to be washed, and talking to the judge like they were both on the same level, when it is obvious that judges and those standing in front of judges are not “on the same level.”
Once that judge sits on the bench, in my opinion, he is not like everyone else. I have befriended a couple of judges in my life, and created some kind of friendship with them, having lunch once in a while and joking with them, but when I walk into their courtroom and they ask me if I need anything or if I am there to see them, or as a spectator, I stand and address my friend with all the dignity befitting their office (Yes, your honor; No, your honor; Thank you, sir – or madam; etc.), because that is the way judges should be addressed.
Once I wrote that police officers attending the coroner’s inquests should dress more appropriately for the occasion and reminded them that they are police officers all the time, even when they are off duty.
One should not walk into the courthouse displaying the beer belly, the badge and the gun to intimidate the civilians attending the courthouse or the coroner’s inquest.
It could have been a coincidence, but after that article, those officers under the jurisdiction of former Sheriff Bill Young started going to court a little better dressed and behaving accordingly while representing the institution for which they worked.
It is not only police officers; I believe that anyone who goes out representing the company they work for needs to maintain some kind of dress code, especially when showing up in court.
The largest and most powerful newspaper in the state (their words not mine) used to have a reporter’s station at the courthouse, and it made me sick to see a particular man coming to work like he took his pants from the laundry basket, all wrinkled, with no socks and messy hair. He looked like he woke up late and did not have time to brush his teeth, wash his face and comb his hair, much less take a shower, before heading out the door.
I think that the police administration should implement a dress code for its officers, or for all employees for that matter, when they are out on the streets in semi-official capacity, even if they are on their day off. Later, when they finish their assignment, they can dress as they want to as long as they do not flash their badge and their gun and go around screaming out loud that they are police officers.
* * * * *
On another subject, completely different, I would like to answer some of my email from readers that honor me with their comments.
For the record, I want to make it clear that it was not my intention to “promote” the pimping industry as some of the people that wrote agreeing with me thought I was doing.
In my column last week, I did not say that it was OK to be a pimp, even if pimps have existed ever since I can remember and as long as prostitution has existed.
What I said is that a powerful newspaper should not allow their writers to slander dead people regardless of their profession, just to make it appear that they are far more moral than anyone else.
I am not apologizing nor finding excuses for what I wrote because I don’t think what I wrote was wrong; I was just explaining to those letter writers that the family of the dead person does not have to be insulted on top of the pain of losing a loved one. Here is what I wrote:
John L. Smith wasted his whole column on attacking the reputation (no pun intended) of an alleged local pimp with information most likely furnished to him by his friends in the police department, perhaps foreseeing the possibility of a lawsuit (I don’t see one, but I am not a lawyer or a cop that sees ghosts anywhere) after a shootout that took the life of that man.
The guy is dead, but the star reporter of the largest newspaper in Nevada decided to bring out the man’s past so he could insult and humiliate the family of the dead man, who of course is not going to be able to respond – because the man is dead, John!
One of my questions to John L. – out of curiosity and only out of curiosity, but also because it bothers me to see unfair acts and behaviors like this just to kiss the rear ends of someone with a badge and a gun, unless of course they’ve got something on him and he is obligated to obey them – is, why do you display such feelings of hatred, coupled with an antagonistic attitude and anger toward everyone that appears to live better than you do?
As I said in my last week’s column, you have nothing to be envious of or jealous about, John, because you have come a long ways from being a busboy at the Horseshoe Hotel to occupying the space vacated by Ned Day – the best and most professional journalist in the history of Las Vegas – when he allegedly died of a heart attack while vacationing in Hawaii.
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) 699-8111.