Reporter’s Notebook

ON THURSDAY AFTERNOON, inmate Jeffrey Depenbrock caused a ruckus in District Court when he bolted from the courtroom, running in handcuffs past several marshals.

Local television news had video of the 44-year-old inmate on a seemingly endless loop. While TV news producers thought it was compelling, Hearing Master Kevin Williams, witnessing it in person, apparently thought otherwise.

Williams looks bored as the action unfolds before his bench. He rests head on his hand, as others in the courtroom rush about trying to corral the loose inmate.

Depenbrock, who faces multiple charges, including possession of drugs, a silencer and stolen goods, is now facing attempted escape charges.


THE LAS VEGAS CITY COUNCIL MEETING LAST WEEK GOT A LITTLE ROWDY (in a good way) during the announcement of grant awards for the Youth Neighborhood Association Partnership Program, which subsidizes volunteer projects initiated by young people.

There are 26 projects in all — everything from composting to mentoring to a trick-or-treat haunted house night — and many junior high and high school students were at the meeting to cheer for themselves and the City Council.

After the council approved the $25,000 to fund the projects, one of the organizers lamented that “taggers” and other miscreants get news coverage, but not good kids doing good things.

Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese agreed, scoffing, “You won’t see this in the newspaper tomorrow.”

He was right, of course. But here it is, in the paper a few days later. Good enough?

Information about the program is on the Neighborhood Services page of the city’s Web site,


U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE JUSTIN QUACKENBUSH, a visiting jurist from the Eastern District of Washington, explained to jurors this week that his seniority allows him to travel out of his district.

Quackenbush said he is known as “The 32-degree Judge” — anytime the mercury drops to 32 degrees, he finds a new jurisdiction.

“With 120 inches of snow in Spokane, Wash., you can understand why a golfing judge might make himself available to other jurisdictions.”

Quackenbush took questions about the judicial system from prospective jurors while attorneys finalized the list of jurors they wanted seated.

One potential juror asked about the confirmation of federal judges: “When you were confirmed … back in the dark ages, who appointed you anyway, Abraham Lincoln?”


A REPORT RELEASED EARLIER THIS MONTH by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego pegged the chances of Lake Mead running dry by 2021 at 50 percent.

During Thursday’s Southern Nevada Water Authority board meeting, Utah resident Darrell Hafen said gamblers would be wise to take the over.

“I will bet $1 million to one that Lake Mead will never be dry,” he said. “Pat Mulroy will see to that.”


A LAWYER FOR A FORMER CUBAN NATIONAL argued before District Judge Jackie Glass on Tuesday that his client shouldn’t be deported to Cuba.

Years before, the client pleaded guilty to a felony in Nevada, but the attorney argued that his client should be allowed his guilty plea.

The lawyer also mentioned that longtime Cuban leader Fidel Castro had recently announced he was stepping down as leader.

“I don’t think that will have an impact on today’s hearing,” Glass replied.



Lessons learned at NBA All-Star Weekend

The New Orleans Times-Picayune congratulated its hometown on a successful NBA All-Star Weekend in an editorial last week, saying the problems of last year’s event in Las Vegas didn’t follow it to the Crescent City.

Some had doubted the city’s readiness.

“If Las Vegas had a tough time controlling crowds, the thinking went, how could New Orleans hope to do so,” the editorial stated. “The Crescent City did quite well, thank you very much.”

The editorial quoted Ski Austin, the NBA’s executive vice president of events and attractions, saying: “It’s hard not to sound superlative. … Everything that we had hoped it to be for our guests, for our players and for the city, it was.”

Citing “relatively little crime associated with the event,” the editorial said, “The New Orleans Police Department made 98 arrests related to All-Star festivities, and 58 of those were either municipal charges or traffic-related offenses. That compares with 392 arrests in Las Vegas that were directly related to the All-Star events — including a triple shooting at a strip club that involved suspended NFL player Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones.

“The skill and preparation of the New Orleans Police Department and other law enforcement agencies seem to have made a difference this year. … It also no doubt helped that Lt. Julie Wilson, commander of the Special Events Division, made a scouting trip to Las Vegas for last year’s All-Star Weekend and saw the problems first-hand.”

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