Reno Justice of the Peace Harold Albright has ordered an April 23 preliminary hearing to determine whether Ty Robben will face trial on charges he tried to hire a hit man to kill Carson Justice of the Peace John Tatro.
Robben remains in jail. He has been there since the original charges were filed last year that accuse him of electronically stalking and trying to intimidate Tatro and his family. Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson dropped that case last week, saying there was insufficient evidence to support the charges.
The new charge of attempting “to solicit another to commit the murder of Carson City Justice of the Peace John Tatro either directly or through another person” was filed in January.
Robben’s lawyer, Mark Mausert, referred in Wednesday’s hearing to three recordings in evidence. Those recordings are undoubtedly of phone conversations from the jail or conversations with some other jail inmate.
“I suspect those are going to be critical in this case,” he said.
Albright earlier denied a motion to reduce Robben’s $50,000 bail after listening to threatening-sounding statements he made in earlier jailhouse recordings.
The case is being prosecuted by Douglas County after a ruling that the Carson D.A.’s office has a conflict in handling the case. Likewise, Albright was assigned to the case to eliminate the conflict in having a Carson justice of the peace handle it.
Robben has been battling what he sees as unfair treatment first by the Nevada Department of Taxation, where he once worked, and then by the criminal justice system. He was fired from his position by Taxation officials and lost at all levels in his attempt to appeal that termination.
He has been convicted of disorderly conduct stemming from his attempt — he says — to serve a subpoena for a friend on then-director of NDOT Susan Martinovich.
Solicitation to commit murder is by far the most serious charge he faces. It’s a Category B felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.