Las Vegas Sun

September 2, 2015

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Hearing officers appointed for reviews of fatal police shootings

Two weeks after overhauling the coroner’s inquest process, the Clark County Commission appointed 10 people Tuesday to serve as hearing officers in the revamped police fatality public fact-finding proceedings.

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the commission considered 15 applicants to serve as officers during the new reviews.

The officers will preside over the reviews and have the power to receive evidence and question witnesses during the hearings.

To qualify, applicants needed to be members of the Nevada State Bar with at least three years of courtroom experience or have some other experience as a judicial or administrative hearing officer.

The commission was required to choose at least three presiding officer candidates and ended up appointing 10 people. They are: Stewart L. Bell, Carlos Blumberg, Craig Drummond, Osvaldo E. Fumo, Lizzie R. Hatcher, William Jansen, Joel M. Mann, Linda Norvell Marquis, Thomas F. Pitaro and J. Chip Siegel.

When a public fact-finding review is called for by the District Attorney’s Office, the county manager’s office will select one member from the pool of 10 to serve as a presiding officer for the hearing.

The commission approved substantial changes to the controversial coroner’s inquest process earlier this month. The new process moves hearings out of the courtroom and into the county commission chambers and does away with the panel of pseudo-jurors who heard cases under the old system.

The first fact finding review hearing will deal with the case of disabled military veteran Stanley Gibson, who was unarmed when police shot and killed him in December 2011. The hearing has not been scheduled, although District Attorney Steve Wolfson has said it could begin as early as February.

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