On December 5, District Judge Philip Pro ruled that the new Coroner's Inquest process in Clark County does not violate officers' rights. The officers argued that the new process violated their Fifth Amendment right of due process. The new coroner's inquest process examines the circumstances surrounding a shooting and makes determinations of fact. It does not determine guilt or innocence. Decisions about whether criminal charges should proceed are left to the District Attorney.
Judge Pro has sent the case to state court to answer the question of whether the revised process violates the separation of powers clause in the Nevada Constitution.
The case seeking to stop the new Coroner's Inquest process was filed by the Police Protective Association, which is representing the first officers to be involved in a death since the new Coroner's Inquest process was implemented in December 2010. In response, the ACLU of Nevada argues that the new Coroners Inquest process is not only constitutional, it is necessary to restore the public's trust in their officers.
The ACLU of Nevada has worked tirelessly on making the inquest process more open and transparent to the public after years of these investigations being held behind closed doors. We will continue to monitor these developments and ensure that the rights of the victims of officer-involved homicides and their families are recognized in the inquest process.