Long lines still at main entrance, regardless of the weather
It only took one attorney to reach out to the Las Vegas Tribune for the south gate doors of the Regional Justice Center to open after years of being closed and the frustration of many attorneys may have come to an end.
Well-known attorney John Watkins is one of those attorneys telling their stories to this newspaper. As Watkins explained to the Director of Security, Bob Bennett, as he was being escorted to the opening of the south gate doors on Wednesday of last week, a day after the Las Vegas Tribune spoke before the county commissioners, the situation in the Regional Justice Center (RJC) could reflect on them, for they are the ones overseeing the RJC.
The situation at the Regional Justice Center, which in part is like any other governmental entity where politics play a big and important role, has been going on for far too long, but no one has taken the time to report on it.
On the day that photographs were being taken in front of the Regional Justice Center for the front page article that appeared in the February 6th issue of the Las Vegas Tribune, three other journalists and reporters passed by those waiting lines of people as they are accustomed to doing, without paying attention to the irregularity of the situation.
The two favorite newspapers of the court’s administration and judges at the Regional Justice Center have offices in the building, and their representatives and reporters have to pass those lines on a daily basis, many times probably excusing themselves to those standing in line in order to pass by – unless their attention to their own thoughts supersede that simple “excuse me, please,” just as it must blind them to seeing the lines or the brutal behavior of the court marshals against the attorneys entering the building to fulfill their obligation and responsibility to their clients and to the court.
Four days later, after the Las Vegas Tribune exposed the courthouse situation to the county commissioners, and on the front page of that week’s issue of the paper, finally one of the other papers reported the situation as if it were their idea, probably thinking (or hoping) that no one had read the Las Vegas Tribune. That’s a good example of how the money-manipulated media operates.
A few years back, two bad-intentioned reporters from Los Angeles came to this city to expose some negative history of the Las Vegas judicial system that may have taken place twenty years ago, as a vendetta to some of those mentioned in the story.
The Review-Journal copied the story in its entirety and reproduced it in their local publication with great disregard for the truth and the damage it could have done to some of those judges.
It is good that one of the dailies took the time to write about the situation at the Regional Justice Center even if it came a little too late; the judges in many instances may listen far more closely to the state’s “larger” newspaper – as opposed to the small weekly that is the voice of those who don’t have a voice – and in this case, look at both sides of the stories, not who to bow to.
A while back, under a new administration, some of the new court marshals started treating the attorneys as they treat the general public: that is, forcing them to enter the justice hall by eliminating, little by little, the line just for attorneys.
Just last month local defense attorney Craig Mueller was pushed to the limit and a confrontation erupted right in the middle of the line before hundreds of people, according to a statement made by Mueller during his appearance on Face The Tribune radio show last Friday after he read the February 6th Las Vegas Tribune’s front page article.
During the one-hour show, Mueller told his story about the incident and added stories that took place with other attorneys.
Attorneys with a bar card that identified them as officers of the court were assigned to a special line to enter the building without the need of taking off their shoes and their belts, but later that line was terminated without an explanation.
Attorneys well known to all court personal after twenty or thirty years of entering through those courthouse doors were now being asked to show their bar card. During the Face The Tribune radio show, Mueller explained that he finds that out of the ordinary.
During a telephone conversation with the Las Vegas Tribune, District Court Chief Judge, Jennifer Togliatti, told the newspaper that they are doing everything possible to hire more court marshals that will ease the traffic through the gates and shorten the line of people entering the building.
Some attorneys have spent $250 with the Bar Association for a badge issued by the Bar, and went through a background check as well, to make entering the Regional Justice Center easier; now the badges have been recalled and the Bar refuses to give the money paid for them back; but the Las Vegas Tribune has learned that the court may reinstate those badges once again.
Some of those attorneys are wondering why the judges do not intervene in the situation and take a stand, considering that their non-involved attitude will make it more difficult for them, when they run for reelection, to get campaign contributions from those mistreated attorneys.
Court records show that each month around 120,000 people pass through security screening at the Regional Justice Center. That’s an average of around 6,000 visitors a day. That number can go as high as 8,000 people a day passing through security screening.
On Monday morning, the line was doubled from Lewis Street to Clark and back, with a temperature of only 40 degrees during that wait time, making it not only uncomfortably cold, but possibly unhealthy for those already suffering from, or prone to, a cold, the flu, or even pneumonia, to say nothing of the fact that those on line could be slapped with a warrant for not showing up (if they had to give up the horribly long, cold wait) or for being late to court, even though it was beyond their control in any way.
One man told the newspaper that he lost the case he was fighting because of the long lines at the elevators, coupled with the fact that on that same day the judge decided to start court a few minutes earlier.
The man, who did not gave his name or case number, said that he believes there was a plan between the judge and the attorney on the other side, because usually that judge never starts his calendar on time and everyone knows that.