Las Vegas Sun

November 16, 2018

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Vegas attorney thrust into Jackson family spotlight

Las Vegas attorney David Chesnoff has had quite a few high-profile clients over the years, but his latest one puts him smack in the middle of the story that has captured the world’s attention for the last month.

Chesnoff has been retained by Janet Jackson to look out for her interests and those of other family members in the growing mystery over the death of her legendary brother, Michael Jackson.

Authorities intensified their investigation into the King of Pop’s death this week, raiding the Houston clinic of his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who also has a medical office in Las Vegas and owns a 5,268-square-foot home in Summerlin’s exclusive Red Rock Country Club neighborhood.

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The Regional Justice Center is expected to be unusually quiet today.

About half of the 43 district and family court judges are signed up to go back to law school for an all-day training session on how to sharpen their mediation skills.

The judiciary here has discovered that mediating cases frees up valuable court time for other cases heading to trial and helps unclog the court system. Over a five-week period in May and June, 47 domestic cases and 33 medical malpractice cases waiting for trial were resolved through mediation.

“Matters coming to the court must be resolved quickly and mediation is an important tool,” Chief Judge T. Arthur Ritchie Jr. says. “Mediation may help families facing foreclosure, a divorce or any other matter that requires fast resolution and help from the court.”

National mediation expert Peter Maida today will put the judges through various scenarios aimed at teaching them how to reach negotiated settlements in civil cases, court officials say. Training will take place at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law.

The judges are to learn how to find common ground between litigants, which court officials say is the key to mediation.

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State Sen. Dennis Nolan lost his bid to help a family friend convicted of sexual assault win a new trial.

Following a hearing Thursday, District Judge Valorie Vega refused to grant Gordon Joseph Lawes a new trial based on what his attorney claimed was newly discovered evidence that the district attorney’s office had intimidated Nolan into tempering his trial testimony on behalf of Lawes.

Deputy public defender Abel Yanez had accused the district attorney of outrageous conduct, including tipping off the Sun that Nolan was preparing to take the witness stand at last year’s trial.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Luzaich, who obtained the jury conviction of the 27-year-old Lawes, strongly denied tipping off the Sun, and in court papers responding to the claim, she chastised the two-term Las Vegas Republican for “having the audacity to falsely accuse” the prosecution.

In the end, Vega didn’t even have to rule on whether the district attorney’s office intimidated Nolan. She decided that the defense claim didn’t amount to newly discovered evidence and, therefore, another trial was not warranted.

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Bernie Zadrowski is no longer wearing two hats as prosecutor and Republican Party boss.

The veteran chief deputy district attorney, who runs the bad-check unit, ended his two-year term this week as chairman of the Clark County Republican Party.

Another Las Vegas lawyer, Richard Scotti, was elected to succeed Zadrowski.

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Steve Grierson has moved a step closer to becoming the top administrator for the county’s court system.

Like the district judges before them, Las Vegas justices of the peace voted this week to recommend Grierson for the court executive’s job.

The County Commission has the final word.

This week’s vote also means that the justices of the peace are no longer interested in dissolving a 2005 agreement with District Court that consolidated some resources.

Chief Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman says that after doing research, she and her colleagues have concluded that the agreement has benefitted the lower court.

“It’s been a good fit for us to share resources with District Court,” she says.

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