Grand Jury costs escalate as city funds prosecutions
Terri Roeser, the Douglas County attorney appointed to a recent grand jury in Carson City, has been approved to prosecute three criminal indictments resulting from the jury’s findings.
Carson City supervisors approved $30,000 Thursday to continue funding of a process that so far has cost the city $65,000, according to District Judge Bill Maddox.
Maddox and District Judge Michael Griffin have coordinated the grand jury and subsequent court cases, following a petition circulated by resident Ron Weddell.
In the petition, Weddell charged city and law enforcement officials with wrongdoing stemming from an October 1997 meeting in which brothers Jaime and Johnny Bustamante are accused of giving Weddell’s daughter Kelli methamphetamine for sale.
According to Weddell, they threatened her with physical harm when she did not pay them money owed for the drugs.
During an attempted citizen’s arrest of Jaime Bustamante, Weddell fired four shots and missed, and Bustamante got away. Weddell was later charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a charge that was dropped by then-District Judge Michael Fondi.
The dismissal was successfully appealed to a panel of the Nevada Supreme Court by prosecutor Noel Waters, but Weddell is seeking another hearing on the matter before the entire Supreme Court.
Following the grand jury findings Chief Deputy Anne Langer was indicted on felony charges of intimidating a witness to influence testimony for allegedly suggesting Jaime Bustamante plead the Fifth Amendment if he were going to perjure himself in the Weddell case.
The Bustamante brothers were also indicted by the grand jury on a total of 11 counts, including the following felonies: assault with a deadly weapon, battery with a deadly weapon, trafficking, possession and sales of a controlled substance. Additionally, Johnny Bustamante was indicted on a charge of extortion.
The cost of the grand jury is related to local conflicts that have forced the city to hire an outside prosecutor and Southern Nevada judge Mark Gibbons.
Prosecutors fees have come in at around $40,000, Maddox said.
“When all this started, I didn’t think it would take this long,” he said.
Supervisors urged Maddox to encourage expeditious resolution of the case. A grand jury report will be released in the near future, he said.
Langer is challenging the validity of the charges against her.