(A memo from former DA Bob Beckett has surfaced.....this is a very interesting article!)
"The memo raises a number of questions and concerns about what prompted it, how it was enforced and what possible negative effects it had on the dispensation of justice in Nye County."
By MATT WARD
10 November 2010
Nye County’s judicial system is the “laughing stock of the known universe.”
That’s what Pahrump criminal defense attorney Harry Kuehn says.
The 30-year veteran lawyer, with stints at seven district attorneys’ offices in Nevada to his credit, is saying that a lot lately.
He and fellow public defenders at local law firm Gibson and Kuehn are looking forward to Brian Kunzi taking over the Nye County District Attorney’s Office. They say the D.A.-elect has his work cut out for him.
Kunzi says he’s a bit nervous about what he’ll find when he takes office.
One artifact he is sure to uncover very quickly — he already knows about it — is an internal policy written in October 2009 by disgraced former D.A. Bob Beckett. The memo spells out a policy that forces deputy prosecutors to alert him or his chief deputy district attorney in charge of criminal cases, Kirk Vitto, before they negotiate even the most mundane plea bargains.
The Pahrump Valley Times was handed the internal memo by a confidential courthouse source. It details what Nye County prosecutors should do in cases of DUIs, domestic batteries, drug cases, property crimes, crimes against the person, sex offenses, cases involving habitual offenders and “negotiations of criminal offenses generally.” The policy memorandum is both broad — it deals with felonies and gross misdemeanors — and specific to the point of threatening.
“Any exception from this policy is to be rare and only with specific authorization from Kirk or myself. Any deviation without authorization will result in the (plea) agreement being returned from the District Court level. You will also set yourself up for disciplinary measures that include suspension and termination,” the document states.
Asked to explain how the policy originated, Vitto declined to comment.
“I don’t comment. I’m not going to comment, especially in light of the new administration,” he said.
The memo raises a number of questions and concerns about what prompted it, how it was enforced and what possible negative effects it had on the dispensation of justice in Nye County.
According to the memo, the only acceptable course of action at prosecutors’ disposal to deal with the broad array of criminal charges outlined is to get suspects to “plead straight up” or get defendants to accept the minimum sentences recommended by law. Any other plea deal would require authorization — ostensibly from a district attorney who was already facing his own legal troubles due to a bizarre DUI arrest in California. Doubly ironic, Beckett would face far more lenient terms when his own criminal case involving obstruction of a public official went before a judge several weeks ago.
Kuehn and other defense attorneys say the memo is unprecedented.
(click below for the rest of this VERY interesting article:)