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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:

Driving while wealthy
INSIDE VEGAS by Steve Miller
August 22, 2005

Well-to-do woman ODs on Xanax - falls asleep - runs over
and kills four people at a bus stop - DA refuses to prosecute.
Five days later, she sings at a karaoke bar.

LAS VEGAS - Clark County District Attorney David Roger has been raising eyebrows even before he was elected. Today, he's immersed in a controversy that shaking the DA's office to its foundation.

Some background. In 2002, Roger accepted $50,000 for his political campaign raised by embattled Crazy Horse strip club owner Rick Rizzolo, this while Metro Police had two cases pending prosecution against employees of Rizzolo's business waiting on the outgoing DA's desk.

Outgoing DA Stu Bell had also raised eyebrows when he refused to prosecute Rizzolo's employees following the 1995 beating death of Scott David Fau.
On May 24, 2001, police submitted a request for prosecution of  four Rizzolo employees charged with robbery, battery and conspiracy to commit robbery and coercion in the case of Kenneth Kirkpatrick. Bell took no action. On October 4, 2001, LV Metro asked the DA to prosecute yet-unnamed employees of the Crazy Horse for the Sept. 20, 2001 attempted murder of Kirk Henry. True to form, Bell did nothing. He was too busy running for a seat on the district court bench.

In 2002, after the election, I interviewed outgoing DA Bell and asked him what happened to the Fau and Henry cases. He only responded to the question about the Henry case by saying, "There is probable cause to prosecute, but I will let my successor make that decision." His successor was David Roger who, as his first order of business after being sworn in, dropped all actions against Rizzolo including the Henry case,
a lack of response that troubles dedicated street cops.

Fast forward. On March 14 of this year, 34 year old heiress
Veronica Schmidt's SUV struck and killed four people at a bus stop. A blood test showed Schmidt had 100 nanograms per milliliter of Xanax in her system about an hour after the crash. Those levels indicated Schmidt had been taking more than 10 milligrams of the drug each day -- over twice what was prescribed.  Despite those findings, Schmidt has not been criminally charged by DA Roger.

This raised the ire of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that published a lengthy story about the sad case in last Sunday's edition.

Prior to the Review Journal filing a lawsuit to obtain Schmidt's toxicology reports, something that should have been public record but was being withheld, the story was fading into oblivion with the only explanation of the event coming from the lips of Roger:
"While other experts may disagree, our very well-respected criminalists from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said Veronica Schmidt had a therapeutic amount of Xanax in her system," he told reporters.

10 milligrams was a "therapeutic amount?"

In contrast to Roger's unqualified opinion, Dr. Dale Carrison, director of emergency service at University Medical Center told the Review-Journal, "That is a huge amount of the drug. Nobody would prescribe that much to take. We're talking about a human being, not an elephant. It's a wonder she could get in the car and drive." "Based on what the expert toxicologist said, I would prosecute her. What she's done is drug abuse."

Dr. Russell Clark, an emergency room doctor at Mountain View Hospital, says, "You should not drive, you should not drink, you should not mix it with any other medications that will make you sleepy."

In the face of such expert opinion, Roger is still unmoved.
    David Roger         Veronica Schmidt
        (LV SUN)

This is the same David Roger who granted immunity to
confessed heroin dealer Peter Sheridan in trade for testifying in the Binion case. Sheridan admitted in open court to peddling poison, but because David Roger intensely wanted to win the trial at any cost -- then catapult the victory into a successful run for DA -- he let one our town's biggest slime balls walk out of the courtroom a free man after bragging that he sold Ted Binion a dozen balloons of heroin the night before he died. However, even after Roger's best efforts, the Nevada Supreme Court later overturned the murder convictions of both Sandra Murphy and her co-defendant, Rick Tabish, and both were acquitted of the murder charges Roger worked so hard to establish.
Now, David Roger is granting "immunity" to Veronica Schmidt. He and some of his staff are straining to find excuses not to do their job -- one prosecutor going so far as to say a gust of wind may have blown the SUV into the bus stop shelter.

Who is Veronica Schmidt? On March 21,  KTNV TV News reporter Andy Roesgen scooped all other media by catching Schmidt singing in a northwest Vegas karaoke bar just five days after she killed the four innocent. people. When he asked her how she feels, she replied, "I'm devastated. I wish I could take it back and I'm very sorry." Then she reportedly sang another song.

A visit to the county recorder's web site revealed more about the woman. Thirty legal records appeared in her name including thirteen real estate trust deeds including two for property on the upscale Green Valley Parkway, and two for property on the lush Green Valley Country Club. A further search revealed a Veronica A. Schmidt listed as having an address in Incline Village, Nevada, once the Lake Tahoe enclave of Steve Wynn and Michael Milken, Nevada's most expensive neighborhood.

Unlike the Jessica Williams case where the young woman was vigorously prosecuted by David Roger and given an 18 to 48 year sentence for smoking marijuana, falling asleep, and running over six teenagers, Veronica Schmidt is not being prosecuted by the same district attorney for taking Xanax, falling asleep, and killing four persons at a bus stop. The difference between Williams and Schmidt is obvious; personal wealth and family connections. Williams was poor, and Schmidt is a woman of means.

However, because of action taken by the Review-Journal, this may not be the end of the story. Roger may be forced to prosecute Schmidt because of the public outcry.

Because of their lawsuit, the RJ turned up the actual
Xanax prescription for Veronica Schmidt. It indicates that only 2 Milligrams were to be taken twice daily. But Schmidt had 10 Milligrams in her system an hour after she fell asleep (or passed out) and crashed into the bus stop! Even with this information in hand, Roger did nothing. And why did the RJ have to sue to get this information?

And, let's not forget, the kids run over by Jessica Williams were mainly white and middle class, while the three kids and woman killed by Schmidt were poor and Mexican. I hope I'm wrong about Roger's motivation, because if not, this is really sick.

I don't want to tell the DA how to do his job, but in this case someone must. Its obvious that David Roger did not research or chose to ignore the laws pertaining to the dispensing of controlled substances, and that he did not even interview the dispensing pharmacist to ascertain whether Schmidt was advised of the consequences of taking more than the prescribed dosage.

NRS 453.411  Unlawful use of controlled substance; penalties. 1. It is unlawful for a person knowingly to use or be under the influence of a controlled substance except in accordance with a lawfully issued prescription.

NAC 639.707  Counseling of patients: Duties of pharmacist or intern pharmacist; documentation. (NRS 639.070, 639.266)      1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, a pharmacist... shall verbally provide a patient... with information about each prescription drug... dispensed to the patient that: (b) The form of dosage, dose, route of administration and duration of drug therapy; (c) The intended use of the drug... and expected responses from that use; (d) Any special directions and precautions for the... use of the drug... by the patient; (e) Any common severe side effects, interactions and contraindications that may occur, recommendations to avoid these side effects, interactions or contraindications, and the action required if they occur; (k) Any other information which, in the professional judgment of the pharmacist... is necessary to assure the safe and effective use of the drug.

5.  A pharmacist... is not required to counsel a patient pursuant to this section if the patient... refuses to accept the counseling. 6.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 9, the pharmacist... shall, at the time that counseling is provided or refused: (a) Initial by his own hand a written document that is maintained at the pharmacy to record whether counseling was provided to or refused by a patient; or (b) Enter an initial or other identifying mark onto a record in a computerized system used by the pharmacy for recording information concerning prescriptions to indicate whether counseling was provided to or refused by a patient.

The above is a no brainer. Schmidt obviously violated her prescription, then went for a drive. What Veronica Schmidt did was clearly a felony under NRS 453.411. However, did DA David Roger even interview the pharmacist to find out if Schmidt was counseled about the potential dangers of abusing Xanax and operating a motor vehicle, or find out if she refused the counseling? The answer is obvious. Roger, true to form when it comes to prosecuting the wealthy, once again did nothing.

In Sin City, its now OK to drive while wealthy, kill innocent people, and suffer no consequences.  The writing's on the wall. In my opinion, DA David Roger selects cases he will prosecute and those he will not based on political considerations. Its often rumored he has higher political aspirations.

If he continues to take no action in this case, the blood of the four persons killed by Veronica Schmidt will be on David Roger's hands.

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