by Brandon Summers | November 29, 2022
Local news station KSNV 3 covered the Community Impact Court’s graduation ceremony.
Program giving second chances to low-level offenders
November 23, 2022
News 3 LV
Full disclosure: I hate this court. It was created behind closed doors with the intent of running off anyone the casinos and county didn’t like– that includes street performers. Once it opened in 2017, it gave the cops and the DA’s office the ability to write tickets in bulk for misdemeanor obstructive use of sidewalk citations. It’s a major reason that very talented performers were run off the Strip. It’s the reason Larime Taylor was cited 10x in one year despite never being bothered by cops prior.
I want to be fair, but what rating should you give a court that shouldn’t exist and only exists because Clark County, Nevada Resort Authority, LVMPD, and LVCVA met behind closed doors in 2011. It would be unfair to call Community Impact Court a “Kangaroo court” because this place is not actually capable of adjudicating cases when defendants plead not guilty.
To kick the homeless, water vendors, characters, and street performers off the Las Vegas Strip, Community Impact Center/Court was created in 2017. It started off on the 17th floor of the Regional Justice Center (RJC) in 2016, then moved to an off-strip warehouse (west of the Strip) before finding a home in a sketchy neighborhood on Twain/Paradise Rd. The very existence of the court itself is the reason why cops on The Strip have been excessively writing tickets for “obstructive use of sidewalk”. It wasn’t like this prior to the court’s opening.
Oh yeah– the former owner of the property sold it to Clark County for $10…
Community Impact Court is held almost every Thursday to deal with misdemeanor citations that occurred on the famous Las Vegas Strip. Defendants sit in a crammed lobby with limited seating and wait for their name to be called. Once checked-in, defendants proceed to the court area where they meet with a public defender, usually Barter G. Pace. He is pleasant and tells you what your options are. The options are as follows:
- Take a plea deal to stay off the resort corridor for 30 days (sometimes 60 or 90 days if a repeat offender).
- Plead not guilty and go to trial at the Regional Justice Center (RJC). The case usually gets tossed on the day of the bench trial.
The courtroom itself is tiny and doesn’t have enough room for the general public to observe court proceedings; so family members and friends are not permitted to accompany defendants in the court room. Judge Joe Bonaventure presided over this court from the opening through 2019. As of January 2020, Justice of the Peace Rebecca Kern sits on the bench.
Community Impact Court doesn’t hold bench trials. A lot of defendants don’t show up and get bench warrants. I’ve witnessed 100+ bench warrants issued on a single docket.