Jailed former prosecutor David Schubert said Monday he is ready to accept responsibility for fleeing to Mexico to avoid time behind bars in his cocaine possession case, but he also contended that he hasn’t gotten a fair shake from the court system.
“I did what I did, and I accept the consequences,” Schubert said in a video interview from the Clark County Detention Center. “But I don’t feel I was treated fairly by the system.”
Schubert, who said he is under a 24-hour lockdown, insisted that he can’t recall a harsher sentence than his for a first-time cocaine conviction during his 10 years as a chief deputy district attorney.
Schubert, 49, is hoping District Judge Carolyn Ellsworth will reinstate his nine-month jail sentence and probation, rather than a lengthier prison term.
The Nevada attorney general’s office is seeking to revoke Schubert’s probation, which means Ellsworth could order a 16- to 40-month sentence in the Nevada prison system.
Schubert said he has no quarrel with the attorney general’s office, which worked out a deal with him that would have allowed his felony conviction to be dismissed upon the completion of court-ordered counseling.
But Ellsworth, who was appointed to the bench last year and is running to be retained in November, refused to consider the deal at his sentencing, he said.
Schubert accused Ellsworth of playing “prosecutor” from the bench to make herself look tough on crime for the voters. He said he believes he has a strong appeal.
Ellsworth, who called Schubert a “disgrace” to his oath as a prosecutor at his sentencing, declined comment Monday. She has set a Nov. 7 revocation hearing for Schubert.
Nevada Supreme Court rules prohibit judges from publicly discussing ongoing cases before them.
ON THE RUN
Schubert said he fled to Mexico on Sept. 21, the morning he was to surrender in court, after learning that the Supreme Court had ordered him temporarily suspended from practicing law and realizing he wouldn’t be able to be with his children for nine months.
He simply snapped under the pressure, but while in Mexico, he began to think clearer and figured out that he had made a mistake, Schubert said.
“I realized that this wasn’t the solution,” he said. “I didn’t want to be on the run. I missed everyone.”
Schubert said he had walked across the border to Tijuana from San Diego and later spent time in the coastal resort towns of Rosarito Beach and Ensenada. He used taxicabs to travel inside Mexico.
While a fugitive, a photo appeared on Schubert’s 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.” The photo appeared on Schubert’s birthday.
Schubert said he posted the photo to let his friends know that he was fine and at a nice location.
“I wanted them to see where I was,” he said.
Throughout his stay, Schubert said, he never spent more than two days at a hotel, fearing authorities might find him.
He said he basically spent time at the beach and ate at nice restaurants. He was familiar and comfortable with the area having vacationed there previously.
Schubert said he felt safe in Mexico, but in the end, he underestimated the loneliness of being a fugitive and not being able to trust anyone.
He said he had enough money to stay south of the border much longer than nine days had he chosen to do so.
AS A PROSECUTOR
Schubert, who prosecuted the drug cases of celebrities Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars, lost his county prosecutor’s job after he was arrested for buying a small amount of cocaine in 2011. He later pleaded guilty.
Nevada authorities brought Schubert back from San Diego last week to face punishment for his drug conviction.
He was arrested at the Mexican border Sept. 30 while re-entering the United States after a national law enforcement alert for his arrest.
Being charged with possessing cocaine and going through the criminal process hasn’t been easy, Schubert explained.
“It’s been an education,” he said. “It’ll make me a better lawyer.”
Contact Jeff German at email@example.com or 702-380-8135.