Local News


Clark County considering domestic violence court changes

Posted at 11:30 AM, Apr 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 17:34:56-04

Adult film star Christy Mack's testimony and conviction of her ex-boyfriend War Machine last year were one of the most public and disturbing cases of domestic violence to come through Clark County's legal system.

For every case like this, there are thousands more being handled in two specialized courtrooms known as Domestic Violence Court.

Two judges along with often the same group of prosecutors and public defenders oversee the vast majority of cases here, and it could all being coming to an end.

"It was a surprise to me that it wasn't a more informed decision. When you look at data across the country, there is a real reason to believe these courts are successful," said Liz Ortenburger, CEO of Safe Nest.

The victims' advocate group is opposing eliminating or watering down Clark County's current Domestic Violence Court.

She believes scattering these cases throughout the court system will lead to victims falling through the cracks resulting in fewer convictions.

"Ultimately we may see our homicide rate related to domestic violence go up. That would be tragic for a state where it is already incredibly high," she said.

"The system we have right now worked," Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak said.

He is among those who want answers.

Court officials stress as of right now no final decision has been made.

However, they are looking at statistics and the caseloads of Domestic Violence Court.

Sisolak believes it is with the intention of being more efficient and economical.

"If they insist on doing this, let them explain to the public why they are doing it," he said.

So Tuesday, the Chief Justice, as well as the court administrator, will go before the County Commissioners to explain what it is they are thinking and why.