I’m not talking about one of the grand choreographed spectacles that regularly emanate from the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Reno. I’m talking about genuine, impossible-to-predict, head-scratching stuff.
The tumble of consummate boomtown Las Vegas, for instance, is something that until a couple years ago only science-fiction writers would have predicted. Las Vegas was recession-proof, we were told.
Back in 2007, a thirsty bear with a really bad sense of direction wandered across the desert and wound up in Goldfield in search of water. A bear in Goldfield? Impossible.
But it happened.
And just this last week the Nye County sheriff’s deputy whose duties include sending reporters the latest arrest reports, press releases and booking photos was compelled by duty to distribute an e-mail packet featuring himself as the defendant.
That’s right. Deputy David Boruchowitz, who spends part of his week issuing arrest information to the press, wrote himself up and hit the send button after getting caught up in the increasingly sordid and surreal investigation of Nye County District Attorney Robert Beckett for possible misuse of public funds.
Beckett, who in addition to being Nye County district attorney for 15 years is probably known best for setting a personal record of crashing not one, but two family vehicles in a single day in a 2008 DUI spree. He was arrested May 5 and booked on 42 counts of fraudulent appropriation and misconduct of a public officer in connection with a sheriff’s office investigation into his use of the Bad Check Program. The money in question came from a discretionary fund administered by Beckett.
Just how discretionary was it?
That’s the big question.
The investigation into the alleged misuse of the funds is made all the more intriguing by the fact Beckett and Sheriff Tony DeMeo are in the middle of re-election campaigns.
On Monday, Pahrump Justice of the Peace Tina Brisebill dismissed all 25 charges against Boruchowitz. The judge noted there was a small problem with Beckett appointing his own special prosecutor, attorney C. Conrad Claus.
“Research by the court of Nevada law has produced no evidence of authority for the District Attorney to appoint his own special prosecutor, as there are precise steps outlined that need to be followed for a special prosecutor to be appointed and is so appointed, by a District Court Judge upon petition of the Board of County Commissioners,” Brisebill wrote.
Now the complaint against the cop has been re-filed by the DA instead of the special prosecutor. I would have strongly cautioned against it, but no one listens to me. Although the case figures to go nowhere, it is the kind of action that invites federal intervention and threatens to only make matters worse - if such is possible - for Beckett.
“I took an oath when I was sworn in as a deputy of the Nye County Sheriff’s Office to uphold the law and do my duties of that position,” Boruchowitz said in a statement he prepared and delivered himself. “These duties include the investigation of individuals committing crimes in Nye County no matter who they may be. I conducted all three investigations mentioned in the false criminal complaint filed against me honestly, appropriately and within the limits of the laws of this state. I will continue to do my job and will not allow a politician (or his cohorts) who feels exempt from law enforcement to use his position to intimidate me into not doing my job.”
In case you’re wondering, it’s the first time anyone can recall something like this happening.
I’d like to say it shocks and amazes me but then again, I live in Nevada.
John L. Smith writes a weekly column on rural Nevada. He also writes four columns a week for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Contact him at (702) 383-0295 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.