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Guinchigliani: Coroner’s Inquest Needs a Simple Fix

(Las Vegas CBS KXNT)  The Clark County Commission will consider a fix on December 4 for its coroner’s inquest ordinance, which was struck down last month by the Nevada Supreme Court.

County Commissioner Chris Guinchigliani is hoping to alter the technical matter that invalidated it, but leave leave the ordinance substantively intact.  Guinchigliani’s proposal would replace the Justice of the Peace with a hearing master to oversee the inquests.

She acknowledgds that once the subject is opened up for public discussion, things could get complicated.

“It should be vetted and it should be vetted in a public discussion,” Guinchigliani told KXNT on Thursday.  But some of her colleagues may want to revisit the whole concept.

The agenda item will allow everyone to get reaquainted with changes that were made to the ordinance in 2007 and 2010, she said.  The 2010 amendment required an ombudsman at the inquests for families of people killed by police officers.

The amended law never went into effect because of court challenges.  The supreme court upheld the law last month on the substantive challenge brought by five police officers who said the inquest process violated their constitutional right to due process.  But the county is not authorized to put a Justice of the Peace in charge of the inquest, the court said.

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