On Wednesday, March 8, 2023, the Nevada Current reported that a Las Vegas lawyer, Adrian Lobo is alleging at least two former Clark County judges allowed serious misconduct to be overlooked for more than a decade by failing to sanction police and prosecutors who, according to the Las Vegas attorney “unlawfully gained access to evidence and privileged communications of inmates at the Clark County Detention Center.”

This is in relation to attorney Adrian Lobo’s client matter wherein homicide detectives, with the assistance of officers at the jail, searched the cell of her client Larry Porchia three times as they await trial for murder.

“All three of those different searches have led to missing documents,” Lobo said.

Moreover, Attorney Lobo stated that Las Vegas Metropolitan Police homicide detectives “invaded the defense camp by rummaging” in her client’s privileged papers in an effort to fortify their investigation, without any procedural standards or safeguards in place to protect defendants, such as having an independent team evaluate documents. According to Lobo, the violations indicated affect not only her client but also “highlight the systemic issues that impact the 3500+ people that are forced to be detained at the jail pending trial or serving sentences.”

Attorney Lobo traces her allegations way back 15 years involving the same prosecutors, and in one case, the same judge, Michael Villani, who just happened to retire last 2022.  She’s asking Judge Tierra Jones to reconsider former judge Villani’s rulings against her client, one of the two defendants charged with the 2018 execution-style killing of 24-year-old Asia Griego.

Two years ago, Attorney Lobo wanted to disqualify former judge Villani from her client’s case, arguing his alleged failure to act timely on her complaints regarding the searches that violated the judicial canons and her client’s right to due process.

Unfortunately for the counsel of Attorney Lobo, Chief Judge Linda Bell denied the motion to disqualify Villani, ruling that her client did not prove “extreme bias or prejudice” on the former judge’s part. In 2022, after the second search of Lobo’s client cell, Judge Villani ruled that the former did not produce any credible evidence that the prosecutors and detectives obtained access to his notes, and “implied that he did not believe that such notes even existed”.

In relation to Attorney Lobo’s allegations, she learned that former Judge Villani heard similar issues in 2012 with a prosecutor named DiGiacomo, who is a Deputy District Attorney and is prosecuting Lobo’s client as well. Attorney Lobo alleges that DiGiacomo also defended the practice of police intercepting evidence in a case before Judge Stewart Bell, who found no wrongdoing on the part of the police on that matter.

Attorney Lobo is hoping for an order of an evidentiary hearing into the searches. She wants the charges against her client to be dismissed. Some courts have found the dismissal to be an appropriate remedy when the violation was not addressed before trial or because of deliberate misconduct. Attorney Lobo states that Nevada law allows for dismissal based on a conscious disregard for due process. “If this isn’t conscious disregard, I don’t know what is.”

 

Source: Nevada Current