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Inside Vegas - Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former Las Vegas City Councilman. In 1991, the readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal voted him the "Most Effective Public Official" in Southern Nevada. Visit his website at:

Justice -- Vegas Style
DA will throw the book at heiress, but let a Mafia son off.
TV cameras In the court make all the difference.
Can you see another set up in the works?
This time there's no plea bargaining.
Venue change vitally needed!

       Paris Hilton mug shot                  Dominic Rizzolo mug shot                      DA David Roger

INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
September 6, 2010

LAS VEGAS - A local Mafia son on October 28, 2008, stabbed a man in the upper abdomen with a six inch switchblade during a botched extortion attempt. The blade came within one half inch of the victim's aorta. The perpetrator was offered a plea bargain by the DA and received no jail time with one year probation. His felony charge was later reduced to a gross misdemeanor and he was given an "Honorable Discharge" by a friendly local judge four years before his sentence was fulfilled.

A famous hotel heiress is caught with less than a gram of cocaine. The local District Attorney smells blood in the water, says he will not consider plea bargaining, and wants to throw her in jail.

I don't believe in coddling spoiled brats, and I'm not a fan of Paris Hilton, but I do believe in what's fare and just.  Sometimes in Vegas, fairness and justice are sadly based on campaign contributions, or TV cameras in the courtroom.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal; "Authorities accused Dominic Rizzolo of trying to extort $20,000 from a man whom he suspected of credit card theft. Dominic Rizzolo ended up stabbing the man, according to a Las Vegas police report. He was charged with extortion and battery with a deadly weapon but police said prosecutors should consider attempted murder and conspiracy charges. In October, Dominic Rizzolo pleaded guilty to one count of battery with use of a deadly weapon."

Instead of honoring the police request, Clark County District Attorney David Roger did not charge Rizzolo, then 26, with carrying a concealed weapon, did not recommend he go to jail, and asked the judge to give him only one year probation,  and she was more than happy to comply!

Dominic's father is convicted racketeer Rick Rizzolo, someone with Mafia ties who was not prosecuted in 1985 after beating Rick Sandlin nearly to death with a baseball bat. In 1989, Sandlin died of beating related injuries. During the next seventeen years, the elder Rizzolo contributed heavily to political campaigns while he ran the blood soaked Crazy Horse Too strip club. David Roger and several local judges were regular recipients of Rick Rizzolo's largesse.

After his election as District Attorney in 2002, David Roger obligingly threw out five Request For Prosecution cases brought by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police involving the Crazy Horse Too including the 2001 crippling of Kansas tourist Kirk Henry.

Dominic Rizzolo's victim William Moyer almost died from his stabbing. Click HERE to see Moyer's complete hospital record. Nonetheless, DA Roger did not put Moyer on the witness stand. In fact, Moyer was never interviewed by anyone from the DA's office prior to or following Dominic Rizzolo's sentencing!

In total contrast to the Dominic Rizzolo case will be the treatment Paris Hilton is expected to receive.

On Friday night, August 27, 2010, a Las Vegas police officer smelled marijuana coming out the window of a Cadillac Escalade that 29 year old Paris Hilton was a passenger in. During a police interview following the stop, Hilton accidentally knocked .08 grams of cocaine out of her purse and onto the floor while she was looking for her lip balm. She was arrested for felony possession of cocaine and awaits arraignment, scheduled for Oct. 27. Hilton faces four years in prison.

Unlike Dominic Rizzolo's attempt at murder, Hilton's victimless crime did not cause physical harm to another human being.

                       Baggie of cocaine                                                  Milano switchblade

Which crime deserves greater punishment?

Hilton lamely says the purse that contained cocaine was borrowed from a girlfriend, and that she thought the coke was chewing gum, therefore she claims innocence.

Rizzolo used his father's political juice to bargain with the DA, and pled guilty to Battery With Use Of A Deadly Weapon. His victim spent six days in intensive care.

After serving one year probation in Florida, Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass -- without explanation -- dropped Rizzolo's charges from a felony to a gross misdemeanor, and granted him what she called an "Honorable Discharge." Today, because she restored all his rights, Dominic can vote, and be granted a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon such as a switchblade knife.

Some think Judge Glass rewarded Dominic Rizzolo for attempted murder!

Under Nevada Revised Statutes Section 200.481 - Crimes and Punishments - (2) Substantial bodily harm to the victim results, for a category B felony by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 15 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.

This was Dominic Rizzolo's first known offense.  In Dominic's case, David Roger inexplicably ignored the statutes and police recommendations. But in Hilton's case, Roger is expected to go to the mat to get her jail time, and try to appear on national TV as "tough on crime" in a town where he lets prostitution run wild.

Under Nevada Revised Statutes Section 453.011; NAC 453.510  - Crimes and Punishments - (Cocaine) Possession 1-6 yrs. and $5000; Subsequent offense: 1-10 yrs. and $10,000; Third offense: 1-20 yrs. and $20,000.

This is Paris Hilton's third alcohol or narcotics related offense, none of which caused physical harm to another person. She needs counseling, not prison.

David Roger has higher political ambitions and loves being in the news as in the O.J. Simpson case.  Coincidentally, the Simpson case and Dominic Rizzolo's case were both "randomly" assigned to the same judge, Jackie Glass.

The media all but ignored the Dominic Rizzolo case. The upcoming Hilton case will be a very different situation because of heavy news coverage. Therefore, she faces the kind of legal trouble Dominic was so generously spared.

Radar in their August 30, 2010 story "Plea Deal For Paris Hilton Unlikely, Prison Sentence Looms," reports; "District Attorney David Roger is highly unlikely to offer Paris a plea bargain deal on her cocaine possession charge, a source close to the case told exclusively."

They're probably right because, to the best of my knowledge, the Hilton family has no Mafia connections, and have not held fund raisers for, or donated to David Roger's political campaigns.

Based on DA Roger's and Judge Glass' grandstanding during the Simpson case, and the same duo's neglect to seek justice in the stealthy Dominic Rizzolo case, the upcoming Paris Hilton trial deserves close scrutiny, especially if Judge Glass or another attention seeking local jurist is assigned the case.

I believe Hilton is being set up to lose in our local court system!

And Hilton should be made aware that her attorney David Chesnoff (right) is a close friend of DA David Roger, and also loves the spotlight.

Chesnoff is the law partner and protégé of LV Mayor Oscar Goodman (left) who was Rick Rizzolo's criminal defense attorney and corporate agent. Goodman was long suspected of paying off local judges, and shamelessly seeking publicity during his career as a mob attorney.

Hilton should immediately ask for a change of venue before her first court appearance on October 27. I know this town better than anyone, and I see a set up coming at Hilton's arraignment in front of Las Vegas' youngest judge, Joe Bonaventure Jr.

If Hilton appears in any Clark County court -- even for only a few minutes -- she loses her legal ability to request a venue change, and will be stuck here throughout the trail at the mercy of a motley crew of some of the most corrupt DA's and judges in the nation.

Even Paris Hilton deserves a better fate!

Judge Joe Bonaventure Sr. (right), Bill Nelson of Knockout Inc.(center), Judge Joe Bonaventure Jr. (right)

According to the September 20, 2007 New York Daily News story, "Vegas handles O.J. Simpson case with kid judge;"

"...Bonaventure (Jr.) graduated from law school six years ago and had only two years of legal experience before being elected a justice of the peace in 2004.

He was accused of deliberately deceiving voters about his inexperience by masquerading as his father - a high-profile district judge with the same name.

'His campaign literature didn't differentiate between himself or his father in any way,' said Steve Miller, a former Vegas councilman. 'He wasn't qualified for the position. He won because voters thought they were electing his father. I have no doubt about it.'

Miller's complaint to the state attorney general (Catherine Cortez-Masto) was dismissed.

Bonaventure's dad called the allegations nonsense.

'He's his own man,' said Joseph Bonaventure Sr., 64.

He told the Daily News he's awfully proud of how he handled Simpson: 'I've seen judges who want their 15 minutes of fame but he wasn't playing for the cameras. He got his business done quick.' "

When Joe Sr. referred to "playing for the cameras," he knows what he's talking about!  During the Ted Binion murder trial. he hammed it up daily on international television so much so that his rulings were overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court, and the case had to be re-tried.

          Satellite trucks parked at Clark County Justice Center during Binion and Simpson trials

If your life is on the line like Paris Hilton's is, I recommend she bring in lawyers from Los Angeles and stop dealing with our local yokels who will gladly take her money, plaster their faces on national TV, and when she's imprisoned, say they did their best, but that their client is to blame for screwing up their case.

Anyway, the media needs a change of scenery and rural Nevada would appreciate the publicity. There are ample Nevada District Court facilities in Battle Mountain, Carson City, Fallon, Hawthorne, Lovelock, Reno, Tonopah, Minden, Elko, Ely, and Winnemucca. And these charming rural communities sure could use the business!

If Hilton decides to be tried in Clark County, after co-starring with her and David Roger during the trial, Chesnoff will continue to nurture his close relationship with Roger, and continue charging his real criminal clients a fortune for gaining Roger's favoritism in arranging plea bargains.

If I were the Hiltons, I'd fire Chesnoff, get a more trustworthy lawyer with no ties to Roger, and immediately ask for a change of venue before any hearings take place in one of Clark County's incestuous courts.

This is Vegas, baby!


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