Incline judge issues warrants in Mack case
Nevada Appeal News Service
Quietly thrust in the national spotlight, Incline Village Justice of the Peace James Mancuso has been tasked to issue all warrants and orders in the Darren Mack murder case.
Mack, a wealthy Reno businessman, is accused of murdering his wife and attempting to murder Judge Chuck Weller, who was handling their divorce case, in what is the region’s most talked-about crime this year.
“It was a mutual decision among all the parties in the Mack case,” said Mack’s defense attorney and Incline Village resident Scott Freeman. “I made the nomination because I’m familiar with Judge Mancuso, and I’ve appeared before him for over 20 years. He’s always been fair and thoughtful in all of his decision making.”
Mancuso described himself as simply the most logical judge for the case.
“All of the judges in the Reno area have been disqualified (because one of their colleagues is an alleged victim in the case) … and the attorneys felt I was far enough away to handle the matter with impartiality, though still in the county,” Mancuso said. “It’s really not that unusual; this is just a really high profile case.”
Last Thursday, Mancuso approved a warrant from Reno Police detective Ron Chalmers to search a black Ford Explorer found by Mexican authorities last month parked in a long-term garage in Ensenada, Mexico.
Mack rented the SUV nearly a week before the alleged murder and shooting took place in June.
Though the vehicle was transported back to Reno last week, detectives required a warrant to search its interior. Mexican authorities searched the Explorer last month, finding and removing a handgun that does not appear to have been used in either crime Mack has been charged with.
Mancuso thought it was unlikely that there will be any additional warrants in the Mack case, but cautioned that “you never know.”
He did not think Justice of the Peace-elect Alan Tiras would resume the duty once he takes office in January.
Mack has pleaded not guilty to both charges, and his trial is set for Oct. 1. Incline Village is within the jurisdiction of Judge Weller’s family court.