The first batch of 50 requests went out Tuesday seeking volunteers for a Carson City grand jury called in response to a locally circulated petition.
Thirty-six qualified volunteers are required before the grand jury can start. It will look into allegations of criminal acts being leveled against several local officials and two brothers by resident Ron Weddell.
Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover said it is unlikely that, out of 50 questionnaires, his office will be able to procure 36 volunteers. By Nevada law he is limited to searching in groups of 50. He cited a similar effort in Douglas County this year that took several batches of 50 to meet the requirement.
Barbara Reed, Douglas County's clerk, said the selection process started in May, but a jury was not seated until September. "They are just getting started now," she said.
In that case, four hundred requests were sent out over the five-month period.
The pool of eligible candidates is chosen from the Department of Motor Vehicles and registered voter databases. "Basically it is everyone except felons and those that aren't United States citizens," Glover said.
Glover's office is using a computer program that randomly picks from all of the eligible names.
He said some Carson residents have phoned the office, volunteering to be on the grand jury. However, Nevada law permits only those who are solicited to be seated on the jury, Glover said.
Once 36 people volunteer, the sheriff will summon them and district judges Michael Griffin and Bill Maddox will trade off selecting names until 17 people are empaneled and 12 are designated as alternates.
The petition was filed in August with 5,422 signatures, Weddell said. Of those, 4,435 signatures were verified by the clerk's office. Law requires signatures from 25 percent of the total number of residents who voted in the last election.
In the petition, the accusations include:
- Waters is accused of removing a criminal complaint from a courtroom
- Chief Deputy District Attorney Anne Langer is accused of coaching witnesses
- Justice of the Peace Robey Willis is accused of removing the complaint from the courtroom
- Deputy sheriffs Steve Johnson, Ken Sandage, Bill Callahan, Fred Schoenfeldt and Rod King are accused of obstructing prosecution of the case.
Brothers James and John Bustamonte are also named with allegations of drug trafficking, kidnapping and assault.
The petition stems from an October 1997 incident in which Weddell, attempting a citizen's arrest, fired four shots at a fleeing James Bustamonte. He claims the arrest attempt was made in response to an attempt by Bustamonte and his brother to run down an employee of Weddell's at an Arrowhead Drive construction yard.