Brooks’ four charges include felony resisting an officer with a weapon
March 5, 2013
Embattled Assemblyman Steven Brooks went to the Nevada Supreme Court late Monday seeking a mandate that he be seated in the Legislature.
The legal filing argues that the Legislature lacks authority to put him on leave and banish him from the legislative building.
Brooks’ lawyer, Mitchell Posin, argues Brooks was elected by voters.
“Here, the Legislature has imposed an extra-constitutional qualification on Assemblyman Brooks’ right and duty to serve his constituents, which they cannot do,” Posin wrote.
He argues that Brooks “should be allowed to continue his service to the voters of his district and the people of the state of Nevada.”
The Supreme Court case comes the same day prosecutors in Las Vegas said Brooks would be charged with a felony and three lesser charges stemming from a scuffle with police last month during a call about an argument at his wife’s Las Vegas home, the top prosecutor said.
Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, hung up on an Associated Press reporter seeking comment after Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson’s announced that he’ll file a felony charge of resisting an officer with a weapon, along with misdemeanor charges of assault on an officer and battery domestic violence.
Wolfson said he was seeking to have Brooks, 41, arraigned Friday in Las Vegas Justice Court.
Posin said Brooks’ arrest Feb. 10 has been blown out of proportion and he’ll fight the charges.
“What started as a minor incident has been blown into something more than I think it is,” Posin told the AP.
The felony could carry a penalty of up to five years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
It wouldn’t bar Brooks from serving in the Legislature but would add a new item for colleagues in Carson City to consider while deciding whether to strip Brooks of his elected position representing a district in North Las Vegas.
Brooks is on paid leave and has been banned from the Legislature building while a seven-member bipartisan panel decides whether any action should be taken against him for issues raised during several weeks of erratic behavior.
Brooks was arrested Jan. 19 in North Las Vegas in a car with a gun and dozens of rounds of ammunition after allegedly threatening state Assembly Democratic Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. The state attorney general’s office is considering whether to file criminal charges in that case.
Days later, Brooks was hospitalized for a psychiatric evaluation after Las Vegas police were called to a disturbance at his grandmother’s house involving a sword.
Brooks was sworn in Feb. 4 for a second term in the Legislature but was arrested less than a week later. Las Vegas police alleged Brooks threw punches and grabbed at an officer’s gun after Brooks’ wife, Ada, called 911 from a neighbor’s house to report a domestic disturbance.
Brooks was denied permission to buy a rifle Feb. 21 at a sporting goods store in Sparks, after the Nevada Department of Public Safety reviewed background forms he submitted.
Nothing in state law or the state constitution would automatically disqualify Brooks from serving his elected office if he is convicted of a felony, Rick Combs, chief of the state Legislative Counsel Bureau, said Monday. But a convicted felon cannot run for office without having his or her civil rights restored.
William Horne, the Assembly Democratic majority leader and a Las Vegas attorney, said that having charges brought against Brooks by the Clark County district attorney would not change the schedule for an Assembly Select Committee to review Brooks’ conduct.
Horne said he hopes to resolve the issue by mid-March, though it remains to be seen if that timeline is attainable given the late developments at the Supreme Court.
An independent counsel, attorney Mark Ferrario, of Las Vegas, is investigating Brooks’ conduct to present findings to the committee for a recommendation to the full 42-member Assembly. It would take a two-thirds majority, or 28 votes, to oust him.