Alpine Motel investigator in contempt of court, Supreme Court decides

Alpine Motel investigator in contempt of court, Supreme Court decides

The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a lower court’s decision to hold an investigator working for the defense team of the owner of the Alpine Motel in contempt of court during a preliminary hearing more than two years ago.

Don Dibble was first found in contempt of court in October 2020 when he refused to testify during a preliminary hearing regarding criminal charges filed against Alpine owner Adolfo Orozco and complex manager Malinda Mier.

After Dibble was found in contempt, Orozco’s defense attorney, Dominic Gentile, filed a lawsuit against the Las Vegas Justice Court and the judge presiding over the preliminary hearing.

The district court upheld Zimmerman’s ruling, and Gentile filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in June 2021. The higher court upheld the earlier rulings in an order filed Dec. 22.

The lawyer to request a rehearing

Gentile said Thursday that he plans to appeal the order to the state Supreme Court.

“I’m asking for a rehearing for the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision,” Gentile said.

As of Thursday afternoon, he had not filed any court documents seeking reconsideration.

Meanwhile, the criminal proceedings have been suspended since the end of the preliminary hearing more than two years ago. A new hearing is set for Jan. 10, where prosecutors will argue that the judge should set a date for the preliminary hearing to resume, court records show.

It’s been more than three years since the deadly December 21, 2019 fire at the downtown apartment complex that left six dead, 13 injured and nearly 50 people homeless. Orozco and Mier face multiple criminal charges in connection with the fire, including six counts each of involuntary manslaughter.

The question of the interview

Dibble had refused to testify about an interview he conducted with Mier, who is not represented by Xhentil. Prosecutors wrote in court documents that during the interview, Mier “essentially confessed to her involvement in the charged crimes.”

The conversation was part of an investigation Dibble helped lead to a meeting between Orozco’s attorney and the Clark County District Attorney’s office in which the attorneys discussed whether Orozco would be charged in connection with the fire.

Mier was not charged until after a meeting between prosecutors and Orozco’s attorney.

Gentile has argued in court documents that state law protected Dibble from testifying because prosecutors only knew about the conversation with Mier after they were given documents during the plea bargaining hearing.

However, the Supreme Court held that state law protecting privileged communications does not extend to statements made by people other than the accused or the accused’s attorneys, and does not protect statements made outside of plea bargaining meetings.

“Mier was not involved in the meeting before the Orozco-Garcia indictment, nor was he charged at the time,” the Superior Court judges wrote in the order. “Thus, Mier’s statement to Dibble was not ‘evidence of an admission of guilt’ because she had no ‘expectation to negotiate a plea at the time of deliberation’ and she was not ‘an accused’ when she made the statement.”

The judges also wrote that there is no evidence showing that Dibble’s testimony about the interview would implicate Orozco or potentially raise “defendant testimony issues” or “right-to-counsel concerns.”

Separate from the criminal proceedings, at least 15 lawsuits filed after the fire have been consolidated into a single case naming nearly 20 defendants, including Orozco, Mier and companies accused of failing to maintain the building’s fire alarm system. .

Robert Eglet, an attorney representing many of the plaintiffs, told the Review-Journal earlier this month that the case has gone through the mediation process and may be close to reaching a settlement.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at [email protected] or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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