Las Vegas Sun

March 3, 2024

Columns by J. Patrick Coolican

  • I'm taking leave; don't screw things up in my town while I'm gone
    For my last couple of columns, I had the genius idea to investigate a suicide at the jail and spend some time at the Regional Justice Center, soaking in the sadness of ruined lives. Fun way to close it out.
  • Judge Eric Goodman speaks to a man at the Regional Justice Center Tuesday, July 23, 2013. The man was handcuffed and almost taken to jail but Goodman eventually allowed the man to remain free while the case was pending.
    Behind the courthouse veneer, a well-oiled if rickety machine tries to dispense justice
    The traditional metaphor for the justice system is a scale, signifying the strength of each side’s argument or the imperative to balance justice with mercy. The more accurate metaphor is a machine, a grinding, sometimes rickety machine, lubricated by plea deals, that ostensibly applies justice to people — dumping some into the local jail, others to the High Desert State Prison and releasing a few back on the street or into a supervision program such as probation. Very few of the presumed innocent are found innocent.
  • Cathy Hill with her son Dillon circa Aug. 2005.
    A mother's despair: her son's suicide in jail could have been prevented
    Dillon Hill was 25, caught shoplifting for the third time in just a few months. Once a bright and promising UNLV student, he was selling the stolen goods to buy heroin.
  • University Medical Center is Clark County's only publicly funded hospital.
    State officials: Las Vegas hospitals sloughing off patients on UMC
    St. Rose is not the only local hospital improperly moving patients to the taxpayer-supported UMC, which is running a deficit this year of about $30 million. Several others were found to have “inappropriately transferred” patients there.
  • A Chivas fan is beaten nearly unconscious by Club America fans after El Super Clasico soccer game Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
    Metro's blindness at soccer melee is a green light for more violence
    Sun photographer Sam Morris showed great courage when he captured graphic images of the melee that broke out at the Chivas vs. Club America soccer match last week at Sam Boyd Stadium.
  • While his mother Angela looks on, Kaleb uses a toy thermometer to take his father Tom Cunningham's temperature Saturday, March 30, 2013 while Tom recuperates from surgery after being stabbed in the stomach.  Metro Police say about 84 percent of similar non-lethal attacks with weapons other than firearms are unsolved since 2010.
    For Tom Cunningham and most other stabbing victims, much pain, no justice
    A few months ago, Tom Cunningham got into a brief argument with a man in a parked truck in one of the most run-down areas of Las Vegas, near the corner of Main Street and Washington Avenue. Cunningham says he regrets it more than anything he’s ever done.
  • Metro Police investigate a robbery and shooting Friday, April 2, 2010, at a jewelry store in the 2400 block of Western Avenue.
    Here's why hundreds of wannabe murderers are roaming our streets
    Since 2010, the worst types of violent crimes, including homicides and assaults with weapons, have been on the decline here. Buried within the data, however, is a troubling fact.
  • From war to gay rights, Nevada Senator Richard “Tick” Segerblom speaks his mind on all subjects.
    If Dems can't beat Gov. Brian Sandoval in '14, at least have fun and pick Tick
    State Sen. Richard "Tick" Segerblom looks like a rumpled philosophy professor, his sun-bleached hair suggesting a sailboat summer sabbatical, icy cocktail in hand, one-liner holstered. Democrats should run him for governor against Brian Sandoval in 2014.
  • Why even a little progress in addressing mental health is worth applauding
    On Sunday, I expressed disappointment that the Legislature didn't make more progress on mental health issues. In fairness, I want to lay out what the Sandoval administration feels it accomplished during the recently completed legislative session.
  • Nevada Assemblywoman Michele Fiore inspects the product and learns about the different uses for and varieties of marijuana during a trip to a dispensary in Arizona on Friday, March 22, 2013.
    Sandoval shouldn't let last-minute snafu snuff medical marijuana bill
    In what seemed like a rare stroke of legislative competence, Nevada lawmakers passed a bill this year allowing the establishment of licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. Now, however, the measure's future is in doubt.
  • Nevada Sens. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, top, and Greg Brower, R-Reno work during a break on the Senate floor at the Legislative Building in Carson City, Nev., on Sunday, June 2, 2013. Lawmakers continue working long hours as the final, end-of-session deadline of midnight Monday approaches.
    Legislators’ few hits offset by embarrassing misses
    I’ve been accused of being a Kenyan-born, Muslim socialist. The truth is, however, my aims are far more moderate — for Nevada to be a little more like Massachusetts, though of course retaining our cherished ideal of ready access to guns, booze and the craps table. Insofar as Nevada’s Democratic majority shares this modest goal of mine, how did they perform during the recently ended legislative session?
  • Marilyn Rogan-Smith, seen on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, is the co-founder of Adam's House, a residential treatment facility for the mentally ill located in the Owens Avenue Salvation Army campus in Las Vegas.
    Mother finds a way to build hope for mentally ill out of son's tragic death
    Marilyn Rogan-Smith's son Adam was born with a birth defect in 1985 and had skull surgery when he was 4 months old. Unbeknown to the family until years later, the surgery left Adam with brain damage that seems to have manifested itself as mental illness, including schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder. In April 2012, Adam died of cardiac arrest, though his untreated mental illness was the real cause.
  • In this May 2, 2011, file photo, Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, gestures during an interview in Omaha, Neb.
    Let's remember: Warren Buffett's power play is to make money
    Shouts of joy rang out among Nevada’s political elite on the news that an entity owned by famed investor Warren Buffett is buying the state’s electric monopoly, NV Energy.
  • Virginia Fisher Murdoch, who lives in Florida, searches for her brother Kerry Fisher, whom she believes is homeless in Las Vegas, on Owens Avenue in downtown Las Vegas on Monday, May 27, 2013. Murdoch hasn't seen her brother in more than 25 years.
    Search for long lost brother among homeless is 'like a needle in a haystack'
    Virginia “Jenny” Fisher Murdoch had a dream a few months ago that her brother is alive. Murdoch knows dreams aren’t prophetic, and though she seems almost embarrassed talking about it, she says this one feels different.
  • Nevada Medical Board, just whom do you serve?
    Earlier this year I wrote about Dr. Sean Steele, an internist who was accused of a brutal sexual assault after a night of drinking in Las Vegas. Here's the latest from California, which revoked his license, and what's happening (nothing) in Nevada.
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