PAT LAMOUREUX - One episode in a person's life, does not define the person.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A SYNOPSIS: Nye County’s Criminal Justice System is a Real Mess

(This is posted to bring everyone up to speed on what has transpired here in Nye County, where Pat's trial will be held.  Please read all the way down to get a "clear" (ha ha) understanding of the magnitude of this mess.  Please note, the detective in question is deeply involved in Pat's case.)

by: Featheriver  (this is a summary of the events in Pahrump from another citizen's perspective)

The state of the criminal justice system in Nye County has so many twists and turns it makes your head hurt to try and keep it all straight. Never seen or heard anything like it. It is challenging to try to keep up with it all and describe it in an understandable way. It is all entangled in Nye County politics.

The beginning of it all, at least in public view, started with the arrest of Ted Holmes, a former retired police officer, questioning an out of state police officer about displaying his police badge in Nevada. Holmes is a candidate seeking to unseat the Sheriff of Nye County, Tony DeMeo. That led to the Sheriff’s Office obtaining a search warrant for Holmes’ police badge and a confrontation at an airport hangar and the arrest of Mr. Holmes. Holmes appeared in court later but was given a “certificate of dismissal.” So far as I can determine it no formal charges were filed against Mr. Holmes…at least yet. Holmes has maintained he committed no crime and that his arrest was motivated because he is running for the Sheriff’s job.

Along about this same period of time the District Attorney, Bob Beckett, fired Chief Civil Deputy Ron Kent. No reason for the firing was given except that it was over a complaint by a former DA Office employee. Kent alleges his firing was politically motivated. Beckett is running for re-election; Kent filed seeking his election to Beckett’s seat.

Then came the arrest of Beckett by the Sheriff’s Office on allegations Beckett embezzled money from the Nye County Bad Check Program. Beckett claims the Check Program was under the supervision of Kent and that his arrest was politically motivated. Beckett promptly “appointed” attorney Leslie Stovall as a “special prosecutor” to investigate political corruption in Nye County.

The Sheriff’s Office, complained Stovall was inappropriately appointed by Beckett without the Nye County Commissioners’ approval. Judge Tina Brisebill issued an order which “effectively barred” Stovall from representing defendants in a court of law, according to the Mirror. It is also reported that Brian Kunzi, an employee of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, also a candidate running for Beckett’s seat eliminates the Attorney General from prosecuting the case(s).

All that may have made your eyes glaze over—but wait there’s more as they say in the commercials.

It was quiet about a week then on May 20 it was reported that Conrad Claus, a Clark County former prosecutor was filing a criminal complaint containing 25 counts against Nye County Sheriff’s Detective David Boruchowitz accusing him of “burglary and assault in an effort to harass candidates seeking public office” naming Scott Cobel, also running for Sheriff against DeMeo and Holmes as “victims.” The news report stated that Conrad was a “special prosecutor” named by Beckett.

In a news conference Claus claims Boruchowitz had “kicked in a door at a home where teenagers were gathered on April 17” and subjecting the teenagers” to search and a breathalyzer tests, all without a warrant. Further Boruchowitz is accused of making “untrue statements” about Holmes in the application for the search warrant leading to the arrest of Holmes.

That is essentially a summary of the state of affairs in the Nye County Criminal Justice System as it appears to me at the moment.

Goodness knows what the final cost of all this will be in the end. It is going to cost the taxpayers in lots of legal costs. Whatever the cost the money that will be spent might have been better used to saving the Mt. Charleston School.

Nonetheless, the whole thing stinks to high heaven.
[Sources: Las Vegas Review-Journal; Las Vegas Sun; Pahrump Valley Times; Pahrump Mirror]
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JUNE 11, 2010 (Las Vegas Review Journal)

Nye County prosecutor hearing set
Court to consider an outside lawyer for criminal case against Beckett

His re-election bid is over, but Nye County District Attorney Bob Beckett's legal fight has only just begun.

Beckett is slated to appear June 21 in a Pahrump District Court for a hearing on whether an outside prosecutor should be appointed to pursue criminal charges against him.

The hearing was originally set for today (June 11) in Tonopah, but it was delayed so a new judge could be assigned.

The matter now will be heard by Senior Judge Robert Estes, who was called in after Nye County's two district judges excused themselves because of potential conflicts of interest. 

Estes will consider a request from the Nye County Commission for a court-appointed special prosecutor to review the criminal investigation of Beckett by the Nye County sheriff's office.

Beckett was arrested May 5 in Pahrump and booked on embezzlement and other charges in connection with a bank account his office managed for more than a decade.  

He has yet to be formally charged, in large part because no impartial prosecutor has been identified to review the case and determine whether to proceed.

Voters didn't wait to punish Beckett. The longtime district attorney lost his bid for a fifth term Tuesday, finishing last out of five candidates in the Republican primary. His term ends when his replacement is sworn in early next year.

Estes is the second judge from outside Nye County to be assigned to the widening legal mess.

Senior Judge Joseph Bonaventure Sr. was tapped late last month to hear the criminal case Beckett brought against a sheriff's detective involved in his arrest.

Detective David Boruchowitz faces 27 charges, many of them felonies, in connection with what Beckett and his representatives describe as a campaign of politically motivated harassment and intimidation against the county's top prosecutor and two candidates running against Sheriff Tony DeMeo.

The detective has denied any wrongdoing and remains on the job. He had been scheduled for arraignment on June 18, but Bonaventure put the case on hold pending the outcome of the June 21 hearing.

Meanwhile, the County Commission's request for a special prosecutor in the Beckett case has been called into question because it was filed with the court before commissioners voted on it, a possible violation of Nevada's open meeting law.

Commissioners sought to correct their mistake during a special meeting Wednesday when they voted to retroactively approve the request and hire the attorney who wrote it for them.

Beckett's defense attorney, Leslie Stovall, probably will challenge the legality of that move.

He already has lodged an open meeting law complaint with the state over the way the commission's initial request was filed.
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SO - this is the "justice system" which Pat Lamoureux is entangled in.  A brave soldier who served his country in combat, has sat in a county jail cell for 21 months waiting for a TRIAL.   When that trial rolls around, how "fair" do you think it will be?   How can there be fairness in a justice system which appears to be over run with corruption?   

In view of the fact that Pat had no previous criminal history, if there was "fairness" here, the District Attorney's office would have done the right thing a long time ago.  Instead, Kirk Vitto, the Chief Deputy District Attorney on this case, intends to prosecute Pat's case to the fullest extent of the law.  Which means he intends to send Pat to prison for what will amount to being the REST OF PAT'S LIFE.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Time Running Out for PTSD Sufferers to Claim Benefits

06/14/10 5:46 pm
posted by: Markham Evans

WASHINGTON - The U.S. military has agreed to pay millions of dollars to veterans who were discharged from the service for post-traumatic stress disorder with lower disability ratings than they are entitled to. But time is running out for those who are eligible.

The law says that veterans whose PTSD was serious enough to result in discharge from the military are entitled to 50-percent disability, which would give them and their families lifetime medical care, and, if the PTSD is combat-related, tax-free retirement payments, as well. But for some reason, Iraq war veteran Ryan Peck and more than 4,000 others did not receive the 50-percent rating.

"My goal was if I could retire at 37 years old and do something I love for 20 years, that'd be great," Peck said. "And i could figure out something else to do when I was 37."

Peck enlisted in the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. In March of 2003, he went into combat in Iraq with the 101st Airborne.

Peck liked the soldier's life so much that he re-upped for six more years. But in 2005, the Army told him it didn't want him any more.

"My hands would shake constantly, to the extent that I'd have to stop doing what I was doing because I couldn't focus," Peck confided.

Peck had PTSD.

"I was devastated," Peck said. "I mean, I contemplated harming myself more than once."

The army gave Ryan an honorable discharge, but not the 50-percent disability rating required by law.

Enter Lawyers Serving Warriors, volunteers like Morgan Lewis attorney James Kelley, who provide free legal assistance to people like Peck through the National Veterans Legal Services program.

"For a veteran like Ryan we have sued to get the benefits to which the law entitled him from the moment he was eliminated from the Army: namely a 50-percent disability rating," Kelley said.

The government has decided not to fight.

"The government approached us and said we want to work with you to rectify this problem," Kelley said.

But there's a catch: Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans like Peck have only until July 24 to apply for the 50-percent rating.

"There are benefits available to you at absolutely no cost to you -- legal fees are free, no litigation costs," Kelley said. "Just respond."

"I love the Army and if I knew before I signed up that I'd have problems I have now, I'd still have signed up," Peck said.

"This is justice delayed, but it's justice inevitable in any event," Kelley said.

If you think you're eligible, go to the national veterans legal services program website,  They're waiting to hear from you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Returning Soldiers' Mental Health: A Serious Problem

Reported June 14, 2010
(Ivanhoe Newswire)

Two new studies reveal just how common and serious mental health problems are in soldiers returning from war.

The first study, conducted by researchers from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Springs, Md., found up to 14 percent of soldiers returning from Iraq report serious mental health issues due to either posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or depression.

"Using the least stringent definition, we observed PTSD rates across Active Component and National Guard study groups, study time points ranging from 20.7 percent to 30.5 percent and depression rates ranging from 11.5 percent to 16 percent," the study authors write. "Using the strictest definitions with high symptom rates and serious functional impairment, PTSD prevalence ranged from 5.6 percent to 11.3 percent and depression prevalence from 5 percent to 8.5 percent." 

The second study, conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, revealed older veterans with PTSD are more likely to develop dementia over a seven-year period than those without PTSD.

At follow-up, 17.2 percent of the veterans studied developed dementia. Veterans with PTSD had a 10.6 percent risk of developing dementia. The risk among those without dementia was 6.6 percent.

Authors of the study speculate that PTSD may contribute to dementia because it causes chronic stress. That stress may damage the hippocampus, a brain area that is critical for memory and learning, or cause changes in neurotransmitter and hormone levels.

Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.  /  Winter Park, Florida

With possibility of no funding, Defense still moves on PTSD online project

By Bob Brewin

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to hold a conference on Friday to inform industry about a project that would create virtual worlds, social media sites and telehealth services to help treat troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries -- even though Congress killed funding for it earlier this year.

DARPA officials said it will develop its ambitious Healing Heroes project using guidance by a board of advisers drawn from the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, particularly the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

In April, Army Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, director of the center, described the project as a new way for troops suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, their families and communities to communicate and connect in a way that "transcends time and space." She briefly mentioned the project at a panel discussion on health IT presented by Government Executive.

DARPA said it wants to use virtual worlds with avatars and other advanced online applications to educate veterans and their families on how to manage PTSD, TBI, and related issues such as substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and readjustment to everyday life after serving in combat.

Healing Heroes also plans to create a social networking environment, including a website and applications, that will create instant support groups and online communities moderated by medical experts who will help patients care for themselves and improve their access to services, DARPA said.

The agency also wants to pioneer innovative approaches to telehealth using secure telecommunications such as secure text, voice, virtual reality and videoconferencing that would connect troops with medical experts and support groups in their community in real time.

In addition, the project will tap textual information processing and analysis tools that medical and mental health professionals could use to identify individual and group trends for PTSD and TBI. They then could alert clinicians about soldiers who might have emerging psychological health problems, DARPA said.

But the House and Senate said DARPA is unqualified to run the program, which will require the use of medical information covered by the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

"DARPA does not have adequate policy expertise to translate these [HIPPA] legal strictures into technical systems," according to the House Armed Services Committee report that accompanied the fiscal 2011 Defense authorization bill said.

"While the committee supports the goals of this program, it is not confident that DARPA should lead this type of activity, or that it should pursue technical solutions using real patient data without a well-defined memorandum of agreement with a partner that has deeper experience with HIPAA and Privacy Act information," the report noted.

In its fiscal Defense authorization bill report, the Senate Armed Services Committee said it believed the Healing Heroes project, "if truly deemed necessary, should be undertaken by either a service or an appropriate agency that has the necessary policy and legal expertise to ensure personal privacy and the confidentiality of health data on such a site."

Both the House and Senate committees zeroed out the $9 million budget request for the project.

Neither DARPA nor the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury answered a query on plans for the Healing Heroes project if the authorization bill passes and eliminates funding

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"

"Grandpa Pat & Kain"
"Kain-man" the jokester....

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003

Pat Lamoureux - Iraq 2003
"Pat is an extraordinary, thoughtful, kind and generous man...not to mention a wonderful friend, in which one could always count upon to be there when in need." (words of a long time friend)

Pat's Family

Pat's Family
Mica & Heather, grandson Kain