Criminal Justice

Proposed Night Court Would Reduce Nuisance Crimes on Strip, Las Vegas Officials Say

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Seeking to resolve repetitive problems with nuisance crimes on the Las Vegas Strip, city and Clark County leaders are considering a proposal to create a night court to provide swift hearings in such cases.

To be modeled on a similar program in Philadelphia, which assigns judges to hear cases in a rotating list of police precincts, the night court in Las Vegas would allow illegal vendors, disorderly drunks and other offenders to be hit right away with hefty fines at judicial hearings. Under the present system, such perpetrators may spend some time in jail, because courts are closed, but likely will evade further sanctions because judges don’t want to see scarce court resources wasted by allowing minor cases to clog up the system for lengthy periods, officials tell the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Given the minimal likelihood that low-grade offenders will be held accountable under the present system, police are reluctant to arrest for such crimes, which creates an enforcement issue, the article notes.

Those who illegally sell items to tourists from shrubbery near casinos, for instance, would soon get the message if they were arrested and immediately fined $500 by a judge, police Capt. Todd Fasulo tells the newspaper.

“The county wins, we win, and we get rid of the problem off the Strip,” he said. “The revenue is coming back in for civil penalties, and vendors will get the message real quick.”

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