LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Police unions have been arguing inquests, which compel officers to testify on their involvement in officer-involved shootings, violate their officers’ rights, but U.S. District Judge Philip Pro has ruled that this is not the case.
There were four claims from police union attorneys that the federal judge considered. Among them: whether the inquest process violates equal protection and due process for officers. In his decision Monday, the judge wrote that officers’ due process rights are not violated because inquest findings are non-binding.
This case stems from the shooting death of Benjamin Bowman over a year ago at a local PT'S Pub. it was first filed in State Court, but was sent to a U.S. District Court.
Attorneys for the officers’ union still argue inquests resemble something more of a trial.
"It's got a Justice of the Peace as the presiding judge,” said police union attorney Josh Reisman. “It's got a prosecutor, it's got attorneys, It's got witnesses, it's got evidence, it has a jury which renders findings like a verdict. For all intents and purposes, it's a trial."
One issue was handed back to state courts, whether inquests violate Nevada's "separation of powers" clause.
Attorneys for the police union say they are going to appeal the ruling.
Inquests have been on hold for at least a year. So far, 16 inquests have been backlogged.