Few traffic tickets cause money woes for Nevada Supreme Court

March 24, 2015

With Nevada cops writing fewer traffic tickets, the Nevada Supreme Court's budget is suffering. It was reported recently that traffic ticket fines make up close to three-fifths of the court's budget. It is estimated that the dearth of traffic ticket fines will reduce the court's budget by 10 percent.

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This is nothing new--traffic citations have been issued with less frequency starting in 2010. Currently the court is facing a $700,000 budget shortfall. It is expected the state legislature will soon consider a bill to fund the court.

Chief Justice James Hardesty said, “The court encourages the commission of crime so that we have adequate money to operate. I submit that at some point , maybe the legislature should revisit the manner by which the court is funded and the entire show should be in the state general fund." For more on this story, read: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2015/03/23/the-chief-justice-of-nevadas-supreme-court-says-a-decline-in-traffic-tickets-is-starving-his-budget/

Nevada Supreme Court rules "casino markers" constitutional

March 16, 2015

Last month the Nevada Supreme Court once again affirmed the constitutionality of the state’s casino marker laws. Specifically, it upheld the conviction of defendant Harel Zahavi, who allegedly failed to pay back nearly $400,000 in casino markers to four different Las Vegas casinos. He had been placed on probation with a suspended prison sentence of several years.

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Zahavi argued that Nevada’s casino marker laws are unconstitutional because it creates a debtor’s prison. But the Court countered that defendants are convicted not for failing to pay back casino markers but instead for having “intent to defraud,” which is an element of the crime of failing to pay casino markers. The court's decision to uphold Zahavi’s conviction was unanimous.

Zahavi’s trial was in 2011, where he claimed casinos were giving him six-figure credit lines. He also claimed he went to great lengths such as mortgaging his residence and company in order to pay back his casino markers. For more on this story, go to: http://www.casinocitytimes.com/article/nevada-supreme-court-upholds-markers-law-64076

Teen indicted for Las Vegas road rage killing

Last week 19-year-old Erich Nowsch was indicted for allegedly shooting mother of four Tammy Meyers to death in a Las Vegas road rage incident this past February. Nowsch's defense team is trying to procure surveillance video of the school where Meyers reportedly was prior to the killing. The defense team is also seeking police radio recordings from the night of the incident.

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The victim's family claims the victim was instructing one of her daughters how to parallel park at Johnson Junior High School prior to the shooting. Nowsch claims to have felt that Meyers' actions endangered his safety, which later prompted the shooting. Meyers passed away two days after being shot.

Four people testified at the grand jury, which ultimately voted to indict Nowsch. He faces charges for first-degree murder, attempted murder, and firing a gun into a car. At this point, it is unclear whether Nowsch could face the death penalty. For more on this story, go to: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/teen-indicted-slaying-tammy-meyers

North Las Vegas man arrested after 2 drug raids

This past Thursday 25-year-old Jorge Garcia was arrested in North Las Vegas for drugs and gun charges following two raids. The police confiscated $15,000, 24 pounds of marijuana, 45 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana edibles, THC extract, and 23 firearms. The drug busts were conducted by SCORE, which is a law enforcement task force made up of federal and local police.

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The two raids took place at a North Las Vegas residence and a warehouse. Garcia now faces six criminal charges. These include drug possession and trafficking, and possession of a gun with an altered or removed serial number and possession of a gun by a prohibited person.

Garcia was booked at the Clark County Detention Center. If convicted, he could face decades in Nevada State Prison. For more on this case, read: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/23-guns-confiscated-man-arrested-north-las-vegas-drug-raids

3 arrested in massive marijuana bust in Las Vegas

February 22, 2015

This weekend Las Vegas police arrested three people during a three-house marijuana bust. Police executed the pot bust after receiving an anonymous tip and securing search warrants. 37-year old Zhiwen Lin, 63-year old Jianguo Han, 36-year old Bing Han are now facing several federal charges.

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During the bust, law enforcement discovered cash, guns, methamphetamine, and more than a thousand marijuana plants. By comparison, the majority of Las Vegas pot busts involve only up to 150 marijuana plants. The defendants reportedly managed to elude the Nevada Energy meter all this time so that their bills would not reflect excessive energy use.

Because of the magnitude of narcotics and guns, the Drug Enforcement Administration is now helming further investigation of this case. Law enforcement believe the defendants are experienced pot growers and drug dealers. For more on this story, go to: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/las-vegas-pot-bust-leads-3-houses-3-arrests

Two convicted of murdering a mother in Las Vegas

February 17, 2015

Today a Las Vegas jury convicted David James Burns, 23, and Willie Darnell Mason, 32, of murdering Derecia Newman, a 28-year-old mother of four in August, 2010. Newman suffered a gunshot to the head, and her 12-year-old daughter was shot in the stomach. The slaying occurred in the victim's home, where the defendants also robbed the victims.

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The trial lasted a month. In addition to being convicted of first-degree murder, the defendants were found guilty of attempted murder, robbery with a deadly weapon, battery with a deadly weapon causing substantial harm, burglary with a firearm, and robbery. The D.A. is not seeking the death penalty; instead, both defendants face life in prison with no parole.

The defendants' defense was that the owner of the gun used in the homicide, Jerome Thomas, fired the shots. The alleged getaway driver, Monica Martinez, had already entered a guilty plea this past autumn and testified against the defendants. For more information, read: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/jury-convicts-men-killing-mother-4-injuring-girl

9th Circuit upholds man's Reno conviction for illegal campain contributions

January 26, 2015

Today the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Nevada federal District Court conviction of Harvey Whittemore for illegal campaign contributions. He had been found guilty in Reno for illegally funneling more than one hundred thousand dollars in campaign contributions to Senator Harry Reid. The 9th Circuit affirmed the conviction on the basis that "sufficient evidence" existed to support the jury's guilty verdict.

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Whittenmore's defense team had argued that he never had criminal intent and that he meant the checks to his family and friends to be considered gifts. But the 9th Circuit in its 19-page decision contends that the defense theory is unsupported by law. Whittemore remains convicted of making excessive campaign contributions, making contributions in the name of another, and causing Senator Reid to file a false report with the Federal Elections Commission.

Senator Reid is not a party to the lawsuit and never testified at trial. Whittenmore is currently incarcerated on a two-year sentence in federal prison. For more on this story, go to: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/appeals-panel-upholds-whittemore-s-conviction

Man arrested in Las Vegas for anti-cop Facebook rants

January 20, 2015

Recently Dustin McCaskill of Colorado was arrested in Las Vegas for reportedly making death threats to police on Facebook. Prior to arrest, the FBI had warned him to cease publishing threats on his Facebook page, which is dedicated to showcasing corrupt law enforcement. Presently McCaskill is in federal custody and facing charges of interstate communications with intent to extort.

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Some of the defendant's reported Facebook postings include: “Hey FBI, how about I kill one of your foot soldiers next time they try to raid me at gunpoint on a warrantless raid? How’s that sound?”; “I’m threatening to kill a cop or FBI agent. They have put me in fear for my life with warrantless raids at gunpoint … Now, come arrest me you (expletive) cowards. I just made a threat. I’m going to be the pigs worst nightmare. Come get me.”; and “I’m going to kill an officer or two and let them take me out. What the (expletive) are they going to do? Die with me. We can just have some suffering families.”

McCaskill was staying at the Riviera casino while in Las Vegas. After the FBI saw that he was making new anti-cop postings, he was arrested. He reportedly admitted to making the Facebook postings. For more on this story, go to: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/colorado-man-jailed-anti-police-facebook-threats-las-vegas

Fake missionaries get possible life sentence for Las Vegas robbery

January 4, 2015

Recently a Clark County District Court judge handed down a possible life sentence to two men who pretended to be Mormon missionaries in order to gain access to and rob a Las Vegas home. In September a jury convicted them of armed robbery, kidnapping, conspiracy, armed burglary, and battery. The two men are twenty-nine and twenty-six years old and previously served with each other in the Air Force.

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During the June 2013 robbery, the two men donned the typical Mormon missionary clothing of white shirts, black pants, black shoes, and black ties. They also beat an inhabitant, but he survived. Later he claimed that the two men stole $3,000 as well as some marijuana.

During the sentencing, neither of the defendants spoke asking for lenient sentences. The men may be eligible for release after seven years. For more on this story, go to: http://lasvegassun.com/news/2014/dec/24/2-men-get-prison-mormon-ruse-robbery/

Walgreens employee killed by former Walgreens employee in Las Vegas

December 29, 2014

This past Friday 25-year-old former Walgreens employee Jin Ackerman allegedly shot and killed 58-year-old Walgreens employee Antonino Isnit during a robbery at the Walgreens located on Cheyenne Ave. The defendant reportedly was employed at that location in the past and was Isnit's co-worker. Before allegedly shooting the victim, Ackerman reportedly said, “Sorry Tony, but you know me."

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The incident occurred early in the morning after Ackerman asked a female Walgreens employee to show him to the restroom. After she let him in, Ackerman allegedly handcuffed her but then let her go when she was paged to go to the front of the store. Later during the lunch break while Isnit was out, Ackerman had her open the store safe, from which he took several thousands of dollars.

After lunch Isnit came back into the store, which is when Ackerman allegedly shot him many times. Ackerman now faces charges of murder, kidnapping, robbery, and burglary with a deadly weapon. For more on this story, go to: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/police-say-walgreens-shooter-was-ex-employee

Lower school teacher busted for selling pot in Las Vegas

December 22, 2014

This past Wednesday 46-year-old Las Vegas elementary school teacher Laura Droemer was arrested for selling pot to an undercover officer. The sale allegedly occurred back in June at a Walmart, and police report that she sold the marijuana for $140. She currently faces the charges of selling a controlled substance and conspiring to violate the uniform controlled substances act.

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Police were unable to conduct an arrest at the time of the sale because the police who were watching the sale were unable to follow her car and track her down until now. The police managed to track the car's registration to the teacher. Droemer and one other person identified as "Gabby" allegedly sold the marijuana to the undercover officer, though it is unknown whether Gabby has been arrested as well.

Droemer is a teacher at Warren Elementary School, and the Clark County School District has employed her for 8 years. After she is released from the Clark County Detention Center, the CCSD will place her on paid administrative leave pending the case investigation. For more on this story, read: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/ccsd-teacher-accused-selling-marijuana-undercover-cop

4 busted in Reno burglary sting

December 1, 2014

Last week four men in their early-to-mid twenties were arrested for their part in a burglary-ring in Reno. This ring allegedly carried out at least 100 burglaries of homes and cars within the past month. These arrests followed an investigation by the Reno police as well as the Sparks police.

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The arrestees allegedly resold many of the stolen goods on Craigslist and similar websites. Authorities surmise that the people who bought the stolen items did not realize they had been illegally taken. Possession of stolen property is only a crime if the person knows...or should reasonably have known...that the merchandise was stolen.

The four suspects are facing several counts of burglary and theft. Their bail ranges from $20,000 to over $80,000. For more on this story, go to: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/4-men-arrested-reno-area-burglary-ring