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Las Vegas judge accused of being improperly involved in double homicide case

Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 00:54:51-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A local judge is in hot water and facing serious charges after being accused of getting improperly involved in a double homicide investigation among other allegations.

Judge Melanie Tobiasson is facing eight charges leveled by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline.

“Failing to uphold and apply the law” and “permitting family interests and relations to influence conduct and judgment” are some of the serious charges leveled at Judge Tobiasson.

In a complaint filed Monday by the commission, it says Judge Tobiasson asked Las Vegas police to investigate a clothing store where her daughter worked, believing it was a front for teen drug use and prostitution.

The complaint says the daughter told Judge Tobiasson a man named Shane Valentine allegedly tried luring her into prostitution which prompted the judge to contact police.

Vegas police say Valentine is no longer a “person of interest” in a double homicide that occurred in October of 2016 when 21-year-old Sydney Land and 20-year-old Neo Kauffman were killed.

The complaint says Judge Tobiasson personally investigated the case with the complaint also saying the judge believed Valentine had committed the murders.

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The commission further alleges she reached out to Land’s mother using a “burner” cellphone and sent inappropriate text messages to a woman she thought was involved in the homicide.

The commission also says the judge reached out to Valentine’s attorney saying if Valentine contacted her daughter again, she would “take care of it herself” and at one point went to Valentine’s home and kicked in his door.

The complaint also says Judge Tobiasson contacted investigators to try and get confidential information about the case. And caused detectives to launch an investigation into the judge’s activities and track her phone records.

“Much of the information is not only false, but their own records from their own investigation will demonstrate its false," said the judge’s attorney Marc Cook.

He says the commission is tarnishing the reputation of his client.

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Cook wouldn’t go into specifics about the charges but says the judge was acting as a mother trying to protect her daughter and get the police to hold someone accountable.

“When you’re dealing with family and the police aren’t responding, you want to continue and make them respond. That’s what a parent does. That’s what a citizen should be able to do,” he said.

Land’s mother declined to comment as she is considered a witness in the ethics investigation.

Cook says he has 20 days to respond to the commission’s complaint and plans to eventually address all of its charges.