Appeal of Olive Garden conviction denied by Supreme Court
November 18, 2015
The Nevada Supreme Court has denied a man an appeal of his 11-year sentence for brandishing a gun and threatening patrons at the Olive Garden restaurant in July 2013.
David Paul Lane went to the restaurant and demanded to see the manager. The manager tried to talk to him but she testified Lane just got more and more agitated and pulled out a pistol. He was convicted of putting the pistol up beside the chef's head when the chef tried to intervene, cocking it and asking if he wanted to die.
When he cocked it, the pistol ejected an unfired cartridge that later became a key piece of evidence tying Lane to the crime scene because marks on the cartridge matched his pistol.
Patrons at the restaurant fled in fear as the incident unfolded, many of them running out the doors.
At a given point, Lane left the restaurant but one of the employees got his license plate number. He was apprehended by a Douglas County deputy outside his home.
When he fled, the deputy chased him into his house and, after a scuffle, arrested him. The pistol was found on his person.
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Lane was sentenced in September 2014 to 28-72 months in prison for assault with a deadly weapon and 24-60 months for carrying a concealed weapon.
Saying what he did was "an act of terror," District Judge James Wilson ordered the sentences served consecutively.
The three judge panel of Chief Justice Jim Hardesty and justices Ron Parraguirre and Michael Douglas rejected arguments searches of his person and entering his home without a warrant were unreasonable.
"We agree with the district court's determination that probable cause existed to conduct a warrantless entry and arrest because the record contains facts sufficient to show that police had reasonably trustworthy information that would have warranted a person of reasonable caution to believe that Lane had committed a felony," they wrote.
So saying, they ruled the deputy was justified in recovering the gun.
They also denied his claim the witness identifications should be suppressed. Two witnesses were driven to the Douglas County home and identified him as the perpetrator. Four more identified him from a photograph. Lane's lawyers claim that was impermissibly suggestive and could provide a mistaken identification but the high court panel agreed with Judge Wilson the identifications were reliable and not tainted.
Finally, the court rejected the defense argument the judge demonstrated bias during sentencing by comparing the case to the iHop shooting in which several people were killed by a shooter. In part because of that prior incident, Wilson said, "the people in that restaurant were terrorized."
Lane started his incarceration by serving time for battery on the Douglas County deputy who arrested him that night. He's now in state prison.