Willis stated that Gonzales was in violation for failure to report, as well as violations regarding controlled substances, directives and conduct.
May 15, two women from the Parole and Probation Department, one of whom was Parole and Probation Specialist Terra Kolpak, went to see Gonzales at Clark County Detention Center and informed her of the options available to her if she admitted to having a drug problem.
They clarified that many who have opted for the “Drug Court” after having violated probation were able to get their probation reinstated.
On May 15, Gonzales waived her rights to a preliminary hearing, requesting her case go directly to court. June 3, 2014, Criminal Court, presided over once again by Honorable District Court Judge Valerie Adair. Chief Deputy District Attorney
Dena Rinetti, wearing stiletto heels and towering over the diminutive Probation Officer R. Willis, swears Willis in. Willis reports that on May 7 Gonzales refused to submit to a drug test, on May 8 she failed to report and on May 9 she was administered a drug test which showed positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine. Invoking the search clause Gonzales’ phone was discovered in her car. In the phone text messages were discovered that indicated that Ms Gonzales was selling controlled substances. Willis did admit that up to that point she had always tested clean and that he was just about to allow visits with her daughter.
In addition, Willis stated, “there was a video on Gonzales’ phone of a baby, who has just been identified as her son, and her daughter, with Gonzales’ voice in the background, which showed that she had not adhered to her stipulation of ‘no contact’.” In actuality, the video had been sent to Gonzales by her daughter, taken at her grandmother’s house, and it was Gonzales’ mother’s voice that was heard in the background.
Willis never spoke again as Rinetti took over, ultimately demanding a prison sentence for Gonzales. Gonzales admitted to having done drugs, but not to selling them. John Piro pointed out that Gonzales had been under an enormous amount of stress, including financial. He told of her inability to complete a 40-hour work week due to her probation commitments, thus disqualifying her from being paid any of her earned commissions. He told of her recent car trouble, shutting off of
utilities, not being able to see the doctor because the facility required payment at time of service, concluding that this entire ordeal must have been extremely difficult to handle, and she finally broke. Piro asked that she be placed into a drug rehabilitation program.
But then Rinetti dropped the bombshell, “And she’s pregnant!” There was complete silence for a split second. Then Judge Valerie Adair pronounced “Probation Revoked” and stood up and left the courtroom in disgust, as did Gonzales’ family, who were dumbfounded at the revelation.
Afterward, when Gonzales was visited by her family, she reported that she was not pregnant, saying that she too was just as surprised to hear that as anyone else. She pointed out that if she were pregnant she would not be able to get accepted to the Fire Camp that she had learned about and had already planned to request.
Today Rhiannon Gonzales, an inmate of the Nevada Prison System, is part of a crew of the Nevada Fire Forestry Division, working on fires, floods and forestry projects. In order to be accepted she had a rigorous test to pass and could not have any write-ups against her.
Apparently Gonzales was not pregnant. She earns $1.00 an hour when they are working on a project, and $1.00 a day when they are not. She sees a therapist and attends church services regularly. She has still not been approved any visitors since her arrival at the Florence McClure Women’s Facility on June 17, prior to being reassigned to the
facility that staffs the Forestry Division. On September 26, 2014, her mother spoke to Rhonda Larsen of Family Services for Nevada Department of Corrections, to inquire about getting permission for the children to visit. Ms Larsen found that there were visitation restrictions with Gonzales’ children placed by the Nevada Department of Corrections. She then told Gonzales’ mother which form to instruct Gonzales to request so that she can appeal the restrictions.
The children are both healthy and as happy as can be expected, living in Southern California. Iyanna is currently on the volleyball and drill teams at school and, like both her parents, writes lyrics/poetry, and she studies ballet. She also plays basketball and is the star of her softball team. Thankfully, Elgin is in perfect health. He is an extremely bright boy, who already shows signs of excelling at basketball and soccer, he attends a weekly story time at the library, a child development class with his caregiver once a week and will soon be joining a sports league for toddlers. They are being
raised by their fathers, grandparents and an excellent caregiver for Elgin. They love each other very much; but Iyanna still misses her mother tremendously and Elgin does not even know his.
One wonders how this situation ever escalated to the point that it did. Could it be possible that the powers that be in Las Vegas, Nevada employ such inept humans that they cannot even interpret a medical report correctly? Is it that they have too much of a case load to actually pay attention? Or is this simply a case of female bullying, a group of women taking a dislike to another woman? — although it is appalling to think that anyone, especially in a professional capacity,
could be so malicious.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Dena Rinetti, who will apparently stop at nothing to build her career stats, is the epitome of the proverbial saying “If she had brains she would be dangerous.” Rinetti has been awarded enormous power with no accountability. She has demonstrated how much disregard she has for the state’s resources by all that was wasted on this case. But let’s face it: the judicial and prison systems are big money-making businesses.
Because the CPS workers involved in this case were not licensed, the family was not able to file any formal complaints against them. One wonders what exactly was going on in the mind of Child Development Specialist Violeta Menjivar, as there were no previous calls made against Gonzales, and her children displayed none of the behavior signs usually associated with abused children. Quite the contrary; in fact, could it be as simple as the fact that even though Gonzales is
Latina, she does not speak Spanish? Or the fact that her children are half Black?
Several attempts were made to contact Lisa Ruiz-Lee, Department of Family Services Director, for comment, but all were ignored. It should be noted that Lisa Ruiz-Lee, an advocate for the department’s use of psychotropic medications, was instrumental in bringing about the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning System between the Clark County Judicial System, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada and University Medical Center — which includes Children’s Hospital Nevada.
This seemingly logical implementation of resources would be the impetus that created the police state that brought the burden to bear for Gonzales and her two children.
If there is one thing to be learned from this, it is this: Never believe that something like this cannot happen to you. This was the last thing that this family would have ever imagined having to live through. Gonzales’ life plans were that of her protecting needy children, not of serving time in prison for child abuse.