Hearing to reveal reasons for sealing grand jury report | NevadaAppeal.com

Hearing to reveal reasons for sealing grand jury report

by F.T. Norton

A Las Vegas judge will hold an open hearing Friday to consider unsealing the Carson City grand jury file and may make an official statement on his reasons for quashing the jurors’ report.

Judge Mark Gibbons’ order says the hearing follows a request from District Attorney Noel Waters, Sheriff Rod Banister and justices of the peace Robey Willis and John Tatro “to make an official statement of reasons for the quashing of the report of the Carson City special grand jury. This hearing will be open to the public.”

The hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m. Friday in District Court I at the Carson City Safety Complex on Musser Street.

The grand jury was empaneled March 13, 2001, after businessman Ron Weddell filed a petition claiming collusion between the Carson City Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office following his arrest in 1997 for an attempted citizen’s arrest.

So far, no report of the grand jury has been formally released. A version of the report, apparently “corrected” by a judge, was published earlier this month by the Nevada Appeal, which received it from an anonymous source.

Last year, the Appeal also published transcripts of grand jury testimony, which has since been sealed along with other contents of the file.

On June 21, 2001, three indictments came out of the three-month grand jury investigation, which cost taxpayers $70,000.

All charges stemming from those indictments were dismissed initially, but one recently was reinstated by the Nevada Supreme Court.

According to transcripts, Gibbons said in a March 18 hearing when he decided to seal the report his impression of portions of it were “cheap shots politically taken at people for no reason vs. real constructive suggestions.” But he has made no official statement of his decision.

Gibbons, chief justice of the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County, was appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court to handle the grand jury proceedings after Carson City judges Michael Griffin and Bill Maddox recused themselves from the case.

Waters, saying he was restricted by law from commenting on the grand jury and its report, declined comment on his request to the judge.

In addition to Friday’s hearing, Gibbons ordered the court clerk to provide a copy of transcripts of grand jury proceedings to attorney Terri Roeser, who served the grand jury as special prosecutor.

In his order, Gibbons says the clerk “shall unseal the file for the purpose of making the copy to furnish the same to Ms. Roeser and the file shall then be resealed. The court will consider unsealing the entire file at the hearing on Aug. 23.”