Metro’s public records division released the arrest report for 51-year-old Kirk Hooten on Tuesday evening, hours after Justice of the Peace Diana Sullivan had signed off on the release of the report from Las Vegas Justice Court. The court sent the report out to local media just before 4 p.m.
Sheriff Joe Lombardo has described Hooten, who is charged with soliciting a child for prostitution, as a longtime friend.
The Police Department denied the newspaper’s request Friday, citing an open investigation, less than two hours after the newspaper submitted it.
But in the last two weeks, the division has released at least seven arrest reports to the Review-Journal for suspects in ongoing criminal investigations — for charges ranging from murder and DUI to child abuse and attempted murder.
In a letter sent to the department Tuesday afternoon, Benjamin Lipman, the newspaper’s vice president of legal affairs and general counsel, said Metro’s decision to withhold Hooten’s arrest report violated the Nevada Public Records Act.
“Not only does this appear to be an improper effort to shield Mr. Hooten from scrutiny, it also turns the NPRA on its head. The NPRA is designed to advance government accountability and scrutiny,” Lipman wrote. “Transparency is more important, not less important, because the arrest report at issue involved a person with close ties to Metro leadership. The public has a right to assess, for example, whether Mr. Hooten is receiving special treatment — which appears to be the case from Metro’s handling of the routine request for his arrest report.”
Hooten was arrested Nov. 21 on the solicitation charge, which stemmed from an incident about a week earlier involving a 16-year-old girl near Martin Luther King Boulevard and Bonanza Road — an area Hooten admitted frequenting “to visit prostitutes,” according to the report.