Fugitive former prosecutor arrested, in custody in San Diego

Fugitive former prosecutor David Schubert is in custody in San Diego, his lawyer said Monday.

Louis Schneider said his client called him from the San Diego County jail Monday afternoon to tell him that he was looking forward to resolving his drug case.

Schneider said Schubert indicated that he was arrested at the Mexican border Sunday afternoon while coming back into the country to face punishment for his cocaine conviction. A national law enforcement alert had been put out for his arrest.

"He decided that he had made a bad situation worse, and he was returning to Las Vegas to turn himself in," Schneider said. "We agreed that there was no sense fighting extradition. He wants to come back and straighten things out."

Until his arrest at the border, Schubert had been planning to fly to Las Vegas and meet with Schneider to make arrangements for his surrender, Schneider said.

Las Vegas Review-Journal stories about his run to Mexico and words of encouragement from friends on his Facebook page prompted his decision to return, Schneider said.

Schubert's friend defense lawyer Chris Rasmussen, who was among those posting messages to the former prosecutor, said he was pleased to learn that Schubert was coming back.

"I hope this puts an end to it, and he gets his life back together," Rasmussen said.

Schubert, who prosecuted the drug cases of celebrities Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars, lost his job as a Clark County chief deputy district attorney after he was arrested for buying cocaine in 2011.

He had been missing since he failed to surrender in court Sept. 21 to start serving a nine-month jail term and was thought to be in Mexico.

On Thursday, Schubert's 49th birthday, a photo appeared on his Facebook page of an empty beach with the note: "Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes! All is well. Here is a present for you."

Before Schubert was to surrender on Sept. 21, he boarded a plane for a morning flight to San Diego and was thought to have walked across the border to Tijuana.

On Friday, local lawyers chimed in on Schubert's Facebook page and encouraged him to return to Las Vegas.

The Nevada Supreme Court two weeks ago temporarily suspended Schubert from practicing law because of his guilty plea last year.

The court referred the matter to the State Bar of Nevada to determine the "extent of discipline" against the former prosecutor.


District Judge Carolyn Ellsworth in February sentenced Schubert to jail as part of his probation and called him "a disgrace to his oath as a prosecutor and a lawyer."

He had remained free while he challenged Ellsworth's sentence, but he was ordered to turn himself in after the high court earlier this month refused to stay the sentence while considering his appeal.

Court records show Schubert has been on probation since Ellsworth signed a judgment of conviction in his case on Aug. 15.

Schubert's failure to surrender could lead to Ellsworth revoking his probation if he returns to Las Vegas, forcing him to serve an underlying 16- to 40-month prison term.

Schubert was a 10-year prosecutor when Las Vegas police arrested him in March 2011 with $40 worth of cocaine outside of a central Las Vegas apartment complex known for drug activity.

Before his arrest Schubert was a top drug prosecutor. During his tenure, Hilton and Mars were arrested and convicted of possession of cocaine and sentenced to probation without jail terms.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Contact reporter Jeff German at jgerman@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-8135.