Paris Hilton's LV Prosecutor Busted for Coke
The irony is too rich for it not to make headlines: The Las Vegas assistant D.A. who prosecuted Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars is himself busted for coke possession. But once you get past the titillating factor, I'm not sure the facts add up.
Clark County Deputy District Attorney David Schubert, who for the past two years has been assigned to a federal-state task force, and who prosecuted Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars for cocaine possession last year, was arrested this weekend in Las Vegas after having someone purchase a "rock" of cocaine for him.
According to the arrest report, police on routine patrol (in plain clothes) observed a man in a BMW (DA Schubert) pick up an African American male, identified as Raymond Streeter, in a neighborhood known for drug trafficking. They drove to an apartment complex where Streeter exited the car and went into the complex. Schubert drove around the block for a few minutes then returned to pick up Streeter. The officer says Schubert then made a turn without signaling, so he stopped the car. Streeter bolted, but the cop chased him and with the help of a second cop, captured him. Streeter waived his Miranda rights and ratted out Schubert, saying Schubert had been using him to buy cocaine several times a week for months. [More...]
This news article says police observed Schubert give money to Streeter in the car, but it's not in the arrest report.
More from the arrest report: The author of the report, Officer Ferguson, says that he was the one who made the vehicle stop and approached the car. He told Schubert to turn off the engine. He makes no mention of seeing drugs at that time. At that point, Streeter bolted, and Ferguson and a second cop who is with him chase him down and capture him. After detaining Streeter, Ferguson then radios for backup, and tells the two new cops who arrive, Radich and Clarkson, to go over to Schubert's car and arrest him. (Apparently he's been in the car the whole time they were chasing Streeter.) Radich and Clarkson take Schubert into custody. They conduct a "consensual" search of Schubert and nothing was found. Nor is there any mention that they saw any drugs in the car.
Back to the captured Streeter: Ferguson and Cop #2 tape record an interview with Streeter at the scene after he waives his Miranda rights. Streeter tells Ferguson that Schubert had been buying $40 worth of coke from him three to four times a week for several months. Schubert would drive Streeter around to different places to score. On this occasion, Streeter said Schubert had paid him $40 and when the cop pulled them over, Schubert threw the rock of cocaine Streeter had just bought for him on the floor of the passenger side of the vehicle.
Ferguson then goes back to the car, and lo and behold, he says he sees a rock of cocaine through the windshield on the passenger floor and opens the car door and seizes it. (He doesn't say Schubert consented to the search of the car. Rather he says, the coke was in plain view and the automobile exception to the warrant requirement applied.)
This sounds very fishy to me. First, why didn't Schubert toss or swallow the rock while Ferguson and Cop #2 were capturing Streeter? (According to the NY Daily News, he did swallow it. Why would Schubert swallow some of the crack and throw the rest on the floorboard in plain view? ) Apparently, Schubert was left alone in the car during this time. Ferguson hadn't yet called for backup. (If Cop #2 had been standing next to Schubert while he was in the car, and while Ferguson was off chasing Streeter alone, Ferguson would have just instructed him to arrest Schubert. Instead, he called for more officers and asked them to go over to Schubert's car and arrest him.)
Next, the total net weight of the rock of cocaine: 0.1 grams. Aside from the fact that 1/10 of a gram is barely a pebble, let alone a rock. Who can see 1/10 of a gram of crack laying on the passenger floorboard through a windshield? Why didn't Ferguson see the rock when he made the initial traffic stop? Why didn't the two backup cops who arrested Schubert and removed him from his car and searched him see the crack?
After the incident, the head DA was notified, warrants were obtained to get a blood sample from Schubert and for two of his homes in Las Vegas. (I wonder why he has two homes...was he separated?.) Police also recovered a Glock 9 mm semi-automatic handgun and almost 100 rounds of ammunition. (He's a DA, DA's have guns. So do lots of people in Nevada. Semi-automatic handguns are not illegal.) There's no mention of drugs being found in the homes.
The Las Vegas District Attorney's office says Schubert will be charged just like anyone else. The case will be prosecuted by the Attorney General's office.
Clark County District Attorney Roger today said he is concerned about whether pending investigations could be compromised:
I don’t think this will have any effect on cases he’s prosecuted," Roger said. "I’m more concerned about the investigations. He has assisted detectives in many investigations over those two years."
David Chesnoff, the ever-classy Las Vegas defense attorney who represented Paris and Bruno Mars, told Reuters: "I believe in the presumption of innocence...He’s always been a professional and always treated me with respect, so I wish him the best."
Schubert doesn't seem like someone who would habitually use crack. Or someone who would buy $40 worth at a time, three to four times a week. It's too risky and given his profession, he certainly would know that..
Was Streeter working off a case of his own, and promised the local cops he could give them a dirty DA? Did he set Schubert up? Did Schubert have some other reason for driving Streeter to the apartment and then picking him up? I can't think of one -- it's usally the cops, not DA's who go out gathering evidence. But there has to be more to this story, and I'm not quite buying Officer Ferguson's version of events -- and certainly not Streeter's version.
Note: The facts are being reported differently in several papers. The police report is probably the most reliable indicator of what the allegations are. As for the truth of the allegations, let's withhold judgment and afford DA Schubert the presumption of innocence that applies to everyone.
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