LAS VEGAS (AP) — Are Clark County coroner’s inquests neutral fact-finding inquiries or unfair precursors to criminal prosecutions for Las Vegas-area police officers in on-the-job deaths?

That’s the question that dominated Nevada Supreme Court oral arguments.

With questions put to both sides, at least three of the seven justices indicated they’re troubled that the law the Clark County Commission passed last year revising the stalled inquest system never directly states its purpose.

An attorney representing police officers tells the court inquests are thinly veiled criminal probes of police officer actions. County and ACLU lawyers say inquests are about transparency and police accountability.

The case before the court is one of 19 awaiting public review since late October 2010.

The state high court has halted all inquests until it decides if they’re constitutional.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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