Commisioners to select defense attorneys |

Commisioners to select defense attorneys

Michael Schneider

Douglas Commissioners will consider Thursday what law firms the county will continue to use as court-appointed defense attorneys.

In previous years, the firms of Roeser and Roeser, Beavers and Young and Pat Gilbert have represented defendants who could not afford attorneys. This year, District Attorney Scott Doyle is recommending the firm of Terzich and Jackson take over for Gilbert.

Gilbert, who has been under contract with the county since 1994, was arrested in October for felony possession of marijuana after he was searched before entering the Nevada State Prison in Carson City. A guard found a small amount of marijuana in a plastic bag in his coat pocket.

He eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge in Carson Justice Court on Jan. 26.

Gilbert claimed the marijuana was not his and that his wife inadvertently placed a plastic bag into his coat pocket while cleaning up the area where Gilbert and his granddaughters had been sitting at a music festival.

According to his attorney – Tod Young, of Beavers and Young, whose contract with the county will likely be renewed at Thursday’s meeting – Gilbert was unaware the marijuana was in his pocket. When the prison guard pulled it from the coat, Gilbert grabbed it from her in a moment of panic, Young said.

In an October 1997 letter, Douglas District Court Judges Dave Gamble and Michael Gibbons recommended the county commission not renew Gilbert’s contract.

District Attorney Scott Doyle said Gilbert’s contract was not recommended for renewal due to the letter from the judges.

Gilbert’s current contract, approved in June 1996, pays him just over $100,000 annually.

The firm of Terzich and Jackson will be paid what Gilbert would have made had his contract been renewed, $100,800, Doyle said.

The Roesers and Beavers and Young will be paid similar amounts.

The contracts are for one year with an option for a second.

Mark Jackson, of Terzich and Jackson, who was previously used on an as needed basis by the county when more than three defendants were involved in the same case, drew praise from the district attorney.

“He’s a very capable attorney,” Doyle said. “He’ll do a nice job for his clients.”

Also on the agenda:

n Chris Knapp, Deputy Forest Supervisor, for Lake Tahoe will present commissioners with an overview regarding various issues involving the Forest Service within the Tahoe Basin.

Knapp has prepared a half-hour presentation at the request of County Manager Dan Holler.

n Commissioner Steve Weissinger said the commission will likely approve Mel Thomas, new general manager of Caesars Tahoe, to succeed outgoing general manager David Attaway on the Tahoe Douglas Visitor’s Authority Board.

Thomas is scheduled to begin work with the casino next week.

The TDVA was created last year as part of Nevada Assembly Bill 616, which transferred much of the county’s Transient Occupancy Tax, or room tax dollars, to the lake portion of the county for tourism promotion.

The TDVA oversees how the money is spent.

What: Douglas County Board of Commissioners

When: 1:30 p.m., Thursday

Where: Douglas County Administration Building, 175 U.S. Highway 50, Stateline

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