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Legislature seeks extension on Brooks’ case

CARSON CITY — The Legislature’s legal counsel on Friday asked the Nevada Supreme Court for more time to respond to troubled lawmaker Steven Brooks’ demand to serve in the Legislature, saying the petition filed on his behalf “is lacking in cogent legal argument.”

“In his petition, Mr. Brooks’ entire legal argument consists of three conclusory paragraphs containing citations to only two cases and no other authorities,” legislative counsel Brenda Erdoes said. “Mr. Brooks’ legal argument is so lacking that it fails to cite or reproduce the relevant provisions of Article 4, Section 6 of the Nevada Constitution, which is the constitutional provision that is central to the legal issues raised by this case.”

Erdoes also said Brooks and his attorney, Mitchell Posin, have failed to comply with the court’s order to file and serve an appendix in the case.

The Supreme Court website shows an appendix was filed Friday. It was due Monday .

“In addition, the Legislature is also requesting an extension of time because the resources of its legal staff are urgently and immediately needed to complete all bill drafting by this legislative session’s bill introduction deadlines of March 18 and March 25, 2013,” she wrote.

Erdoes asked for an extension to March 27 to reply to Brooks’ writ seeking return from a forced leave of absence.

The court granted the Legislative Counsel Bureau until Wednesday to file a response. The Legislature was required to respond by Monday .

Posin filed the writ March 4, arguing that the Legislature does not have the constitutional authority to put Brooks on administrative leave. He asked the court to act within 14 days.

“The Legislature is not his employer,” Posin said at the time of the filing. “He is an elected official.”

The court case is separate from an inquiry by the Assembly into Brooks’ conduct and whether he should be removed from his District 17 seat.

That proceeding is expected to get under way late next week and could lead to the unprecedented ouster of Brooks, D-North Las Vegas, by the full 42-member Assembly.

In her motion to the Supreme Court, Erdoes said Brooks’ documents and pleadings “have fallen well below the ‘high standards of diligence, professionalism and competence’ expected by the court.”

Brooks is on paid leave and banned from the Legislative Building. His recent erratic behavior is being investigated by independent counsel and Las Vegas attorney Mark Ferrario on behalf of an Assembly Select Committee considering Brooks’ future in the Legislature.

The committee will make a recommendation to the full Assembly on the lawmakers’ future. A two-thirds vote would be required to remove him from office.

The state attorney general’s office is reviewing Brooks’ Jan. 18 arrest after allegations he threatened Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, D-North Las Vegas. Brooks was reportedly upset about his committee assignments.

He has been charged by the Clark County district attorney’s office in a Feb. 10 incident involving his wife.

He is charged with resisting a public officer with use of a firearm, assault on an officer, battery domestic violence and obstructing a police officer.

Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3900.

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