Nevada high court indefinitely delays coroner's inquest

The Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday delayed indefinitely the Clark County coroner's inquest and scheduled oral arguments on the inquest's constitutionality for next month.

The action followed last week's order by the high court to stop the county's first scheduled inquest in more than 18 months.

The revamped inquest process is under appeal by Nevada Highway Patrol troopers involved in the August 2010 death of Eduardo Lopez-Hernandez, who died after fighting with troopers and being shot with a Taser stun gun more than a dozen times on U.S. Highway 95.

County commissioners changed the inquest several months later in response to critics who called the previous version biased in favor of police. The new system added a lawyer to represent the family of the dead, an addition that police union leaders say transformed a fact-finding hearing into a fault-finding one.

The Police Protective Association, which represents about 2,400 rank-and-file Las Vegas officers, backed the troopers' legal challenge and another case involving three of its officers. That case was under appeal in federal court.

In both cases, judges ruled against the officers' arguments and allowed the inquests to proceed. The first one was set to start last week before the Supreme Court halted it the day before it was to start. The high court will hear arguments on the appeal June 5.

Contact reporter Brian Haynes at or 702-383-0281.