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August 1, 2015

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Steven Brooks asks Nevada Supreme Court to give him a seat at Legislature

Former Assemblyman Steven Brooks

Former Assemblyman Steven Brooks

Assemblyman Steven Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, who has been banned from the legislative building following multiple arrests, has petitioned the Nevada Supreme Court to reclaim his seat at the Legislature.

In a writ officially filed today, Brooks said the Assembly does not have the power to bar him from the seat he was elected to last November.

Assembly Majority Leader William Horne in February said Brooks was placed on administrative leave and barred from entering the legislative building. A select committee of the Assembly has been formed to investigate and determine whether Brooks should be permanently barred from serving in this session. The constitution gives the Legislature authority to seat or expel its members.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson announced Monday that felony charges of resisting an officer with a weapon would be filed against the troubled assemblyman. And misdemeanor charges would be brought including one of domestic violence.

The charges stem from an argument at the home of his wife and police response.

Mitchell Posin, the attorney for Brooks, filed an emergency motion for a writ of mandamus asking the Supreme Court to either immediately seat the Assemblyman or schedule a hearing on the actions of the Assembly. The writ is filed against the full Legislature.

Posin said, “Here, the Legislature has imposed an extra-constitutional qualification on Assemblyman Brooks’ right and duty to serve his constituents, which they cannot do.”

He cites a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1969 in which the House of Representatives sought to block one of its members from serving.

Posin said Brooks has been duly elected and should be permitted to serve.

Horne said in his Feb. 11 letter that the behavior of Brooks ”may present a direct threat to others in the building" that has prompted increased security.

The majority leader said, “As you know, the Assembly has the constitutional duty to judge the qualifications of its own members, determine the rules of its proceedings and punish members for disorderly conduct.”

He said a vote by two-thirds of the Assembly could expel a member.

Brooks will have an opportunity to present his side of the story to the select committee that will make recommendations to the full Assembly.

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