Nevada Woman Arrested After Being Reportedly Assaulted By Marshal As Judge Ignores Her Pleas

Screen-Shot-2013-04-29-at-11.18.19-AM2260_doninger_patricia_703The video below is a highly disturbing scene from the courtroom of Clark County Hearings Master Patricia Doninger (right) in a family court case. The video shows Monica Contreras, 28, who complains that she was assaulted by a marshal in the room next to the courtroom under a pretext of a spontaneous drug search. Doninger entirely ignores her and does nothing as the marshals arrest her on the clearly abusive charge of “making false allegations about a police officer.” Doninger is shown playing with Contreras’ daughter. Internal Affairs is reportedly investigating a host of such allegations in the courthouse. Contreras is now suing the officer Ron Fox, a second officer, James Kenyon, and Doninger in a civil rights action. She has also named Clark County, Nevada, as a defendant.

Contreras was called into a room where she says that the officer ordered her to lift her shirt and groped her. When she demanded a female officer, both the marshal and the judge ignored her.

She later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. This required some prosecutor to look at the evidence and, rather than act to stop this abuse of the system, alter the charges to shed to overtly unsupportable false information charge. I am not sure if she had counsel, but the role of the prosecution needs also to be examined. There appears no independent judgment or action from the prosecutor in participating in this sham. Then there is the absence of a criminal charge against Fox if in fact this “search” was a ruse for groping this woman. Prosecutors seemed to have no problem with the criminal charges against Contreras but there is no record of any charge against Fox.

Later, Fox was fired after an investigation. In a decision upholding the termination, Assistant County Manager Ed Finger found “Fox, and to some degree Kenyon, simply intimidated and bullied the complainant in a way that is shocking and almost incomprehensible, using the complainant’s own freedom and custody of her three-year-old child as threats.” It is not clear if Kenyon was also fired.

The Internal Affairs investigation reportedly confirmed her account from the room and there is no need for confirmation of what occurred before Doninger. I cannot imagine keeping Doninger on the bench after such a complete failure to protect individuals in her courtroom or perform even a modicum of the responsibilities of a judge. As for the officers, these allegations, if true, would constitute crimes.

What is astonishing is that Doninger is a “domestic violence commissioner” and has worked as a domestic violence commissioner since late 1998. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami and her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law. There is no evidence of such experience or even concern over this victim’s pleas on the videotape. As the presiding judicial officer in this court, she must bear the ultimate responsibility for the abuse.

The question is whether that accountability can take the form of civil liability over what could be viewed as a discretionary act on her part in allowing the arrest to occur. She will have some strong legal arguments. However, that does not relieve her of responsibility. There remains the question of her suitability to continue on the bench.

58 thoughts on “Nevada Woman Arrested After Being Reportedly Assaulted By Marshal As Judge Ignores Her Pleas

  1. This is “our freedoms” I take it?

    I think that society would be better served by cleaning up that sort of cess pool – rather than it would be served by hunting/destroying whistleblowers who expose illegality.

  2. When I investigate incidents such as this I like to break it down to the basics. It may sound crude to some but this is the way the world works, and it’s often much more than crude. The victim is a very attractive and endowed woman. The marshall was REALLY quick on the draw having her arrested. You could tell the bailiff was reluctant, possibly because he knew how this Marshall operated. The judge was just a disgrace, as a judge and a woman.

  3. If you want “traitors”, look at state/government officials who were involved in that courtroom incident. They are they ones that endanger an orderly safe society.
    It’s one of the most obscene things I’ve seen in a while.

  4. I think that if a LE officer, or officer of the court, commits a crime under color of law, and is convicted, the sentence should be doubled. And this should go all the way up the chain to the Supremes and the US A-G. These folks are supposed to be setting an example, not working the system so that they can have their authority trips over suspects, defendants, and ordinary citizens.

  5. These are the same judges that have not the Right Stuff to make other important decisions….and we trust other judges with FISA matters… I feel safer now…

  6. Jimbo,
    I rescued your comment from the moderation filter. You used three links, and the filter is set for two links. The reason for that is spammers often use multiple links. Henceforth, suggest if you have more than two links to share, break it down into more than one comment, with no more than two links per comment. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  7. I am a former criminal defense attorney. I have made many wonderful friends who are members of law enforcement.
    However, there is fine line between those who arrest and those who they arrest. This doesnt shock me at all. This kind of behavior goes on a lot.
    To me the one disrespecting the rule of law was the Judge. She utterly abdicated her power in that room

  8. If Doninge has any sensitivity at all, she will resign … but, then again, she’s already shown that she has none.

    It appears the “marshall supervisor” also paid a price “Amid a cloud of misconduct allegation” ie more than one incident in this judicial cesspool.

    “In a courtroom incident captured on video, Contreras complained to Hearing Master Patricia Doninger that Fox assaulted her in a nearby witness room under the guise of searching for drugs.

    Contreras alleged Fox touched her buttocks and breast and ordered her to lift and shake her bra so he could determine whether she was hiding drugs or drug paraphernalia, according to internal court documents.

    On courtroom video, Doninger is seen playing with Contreras’ daughter and appearing to ignore the woman’s emotional description of the incident and plea for help.

    Fox tried to get her to recant the allegations. When she refused, another marshal, James Kenyon, handcuffed her and took her into custody. Her crime, as described by Fox, was making false allegations.

    Rushfield was investigated in connection with an incident on May 20, 2010, in which he is alleged to have choked Crystal Williams in a restraining chair.

    Williams was at a hearing in Family Court to support a friend. After a confrontation with marshals outside the courtroom about her use of a cellphone, she was taken to a holding cell and strapped into the chair. …”

  9. It is time for the lawyers in the Bar of Nevada to step up and do their duty, I assume this judge is a lawyer, so disbarment should be started in addition to possible criminal and civil penalties.

  10. Ugh, this makes me ill, and quite frankly makes me exceptionally discouraged with our legal system and government in general.

  11. “There remains the question of her suitability to continue on the bench.”

    I don’t think there is any question at all.

    She’s not suitable to be a member of the bar let alone a judge.

    And again I ask, where are the pending criminal charges?

  12. “Fox tried to get her to recant the allegations. When she refused, another marshal, James Kenyon, handcuffed her and took her into custody. Her crime, as described by Fox, was making false allegations.”

    Can we assume that had she recanted her allegations she would not have been charged? Is this the proper behavior one can expect from our court system? Watching Marshall Fox demand that she recant her charges at the microphone and her courage in turning the tables, I felt an overwhelming anger towards this vicious criminal. So often we see rants against the “evils of the criminal elements” in this country in justification of being tough on crime.
    Is Marshall Fox any less criminal in his heartless/disgusting behavior towards someone he perceives as defenseless? I think the man based on this performance alone deserves greater punishment that mere firing. This was criminal behavior and should not be protected by any “performed under duty” statute.

    “assaulted by a marshal in the room next to the courtroom under a pretext of a spontaneous drug search”

    Are we to assume that all people who find themselves in this Family Court are subject to “spontaneous drug searches”? Also from the news video “Marshall Fox claims his arrest was just because nobody in the Courtroom tried to stop him”. I think what we are seeing always has been an aspect of American “justice”. Whether it is abuse of power, the powerlessness of those lower on the economic scale, the powerlessness of those of various ethnicity and the appointment/election of corrupt/incompetent people to the judiciary.

    There will be those who protest that the majority of LEO’s are not like Marshall Fox and I believe that is true. However, it is incumbent upon those LEO’s who uphold their office with integrity to insure that those like Fox cannot blithely get away with this kind of behavior.

    A stable, law abiding society can never be maintained by governmental force alone and this is the mistake of those who would legislate ever harsher penalties for criminal enforcement. Oppressive police states never ensure peaceful societies for a deep psychological reason. If the people are made to feel powerless in a society, without recourse to a fair legal system and police authority, then they tend to embrace crime and violence, because then they in fact have nothing to lose. In the USSR, during the height of Stalin’s reign of terror were birthed the beginnings of the Russian Mafia via the profits to be gained from a “black market”. I’ve no doubt the same was true in Germany under the NAZI’s and in Italy under Mussolini. In China today this is also true.

    Police States on the surface create stable societies, but the reality is that oppression is the great social De-stabilizer. In America this pattern has repeated itself time and again, yet it remains unrecognized by the many who feel that we must crack down on people to maintain social stability. In reality all we need to maintain a socially stable society is a legal system that is fair for all participants, so that everyone feels they are safe from this kind of behavior. Obviously though, maintaining a fair legal system is a very hard thing to do. some may think that I’ve strayed too far from this case to a macro-cosmic view of a police state in action. I would answer by saying yous look at that video again and if in your gut you don’t feel anger and outrage at this vile human being, then perhaps you are part of the problem.

  13. Man o’ man do we need cameras in court. judges and legislatures routinely say they’re afraid of lawyers show-boating, but this kind of crap (stupid behavior on the bench) is the real reason for the choice to continue to use technology from the 1920’s instead of cameras. It also give reviewing courts the ability to ignore almost any factual determination by saying the trier of fact always has a better opportunity to observe the witness’ demeanor etc etc etc.

  14. Seamus,

    I know a judge that would pause the tape anytime something controversial went about ….. They are no longer on the bench…

  15. I am at a loss of words. There are so many abuses here it is staggering. This judge better read up on Misprision of Felony because federal law codifies this and it might be the case there is probable cause to believe she is guilty of it. A state / local LEO who uses colour of law (in this case his office as a pretext to conduct a “drug search” whereupon he sexually assaulted the victim) it becomes a felony federal crime.

    It is also TOTALLY obvious that a person making a bona fide complaint of a crime is shielded from both criminal and civil liability in doing so. But this is what the marshall based his arrest on, that the compaint was false. With ZERO investigation he arrived at this conclusion. The bar for determining whether or not to file a “making a false police report” is so high it is only used where it was completely baseless AND malicious AND intentional.

    There is certainly going to be more to this investigation. I’ll venture to say someone else is going to be seeing jail time also.

  16. UPDATE — Federal Suit filed by vicim Monica Contreras

    Hearing Master Doninger’s non-response to an event that SCREAMS FOR A RESPONSE from Justice is symptomatic of the deeply dysfunctional state of Nevada justice, most notable in the Family Court arena. Remember the contemporary context Doninger’s professional life is embedded in and judicial/justice issues (several) that have spilled out into the public arena for review over the past 2 years: (1) Family Court Judge Steve Jones current 20-count Federal Indictment for financial fraud dating back over a decade (he’s been on the bench for just as long too — believe he heard all the ‘juvenile emancipation cases’). (2) Judge Steve Jones is also facing the Judicial Commission on Conduct in the upcoming two weeks for violations in conduct due to the former Assistant DA Lisa Willardson waltz (she is now suing Clark County for defamation). (3) The Federal case of VIctoria Giampa, originated out of 8th District Family Court, now in the hands of the 9th Circuit Court on appeal (we know many others with same Civil Rights violation issues over the past decade).

    (4) Criminal side of justice has the current Attorney Bloomfield + court-contracted counseling agency Brox + juvenile probation officer Chiodini + ex-felons, et al court certification fraud. Here we have an instance of state-empowered agents (on the taxpayer’s dime) who see their role as getting sexually exploited minors back into the hands of their human traffickers ASAP, so as to minimize impact of law enforcement upon human trafficking profits. (5) Ongoing, with some indictments already handed down, is the Housing Board Racketeering and Fraud game, accompanied by numerous lawyer-related suicides in Clark County, reminiscent of the mass suicide migration of lemmings. (6) Just for good measure, let’s not forget the case of Maurice Carroll (False Service Processing cases — numerous), now serving time for the crime, a former LVMPD officer of the law. The numbers of cases Maurice Carroll potentially impacted has been quoted in news media reports to be astronomical.

    Now for the finale folks — Take a look at some of the reasons people have been removed from the judicial bench over the last decade in Clark County Nevada. Our favorite is the de-benchment of Family Court Judge Nicholas DelVecchio — who literally treated the Judicial Chambers as a “Family Affair”. Then there was Frances Fine, who gives away custody of children in ex-parte hearings. Who could forget Halverson — she believed feet pedicures given by Court Bailiffs were part of the benefit package (among other judicial infractions).

    I’ll leave you to your own intelligent devices and methods to research these issues, that are real, and have adversely effected the lives of many people over the past decade.

    Anyone ever get an answer to the question why was Ron Titus fired from his position of Chief Admin Officer overseeing all Informational and Technical Services state-wide courts Nevada in January 2011? We know that answer and here it is: People (attorneys and their paralegals) have been digitally changing adjudicated records for the past decade, for the purposes of future litigation. For the past two years we have been trying to get this message out to We The People so some real changes can happen.

    Thank you for helping to put a spotlight on justice issues in Nevada and for the intelligent discussion that can always be found on this blog.

  17. I don’t think we should tell people how they should feel. That’s presumptuous, judgmental, and pompous. Particularly from a person from a helping profession. But, the First Amendment’s got you covered.

  18. Some people talk big, but in the end are gutless, passive aggressive personalities with no self control. Worse, they might read a comment and think it pertains to them, when in fact it has nothing to do with them. However, being passive aggressive, they wrongly assume that everyone shares their dementia. I’m stating this as a general proposition on the human race please understand and not directing it at anyone on these pages.

  19. “There remains the question of her suitability to continue on the bench.”

    There remains the question of her suitability to live in society. Prison would be a better place for her.

  20. Some people either don’t learn lessons very well or they simply don’t think the rules apply to them.

    Such things are both noticed and noted.

  21. This happens EVERY DAY in the legal system. Police routinely grope, molest, and assault women, whether they are in court, in jail, in prison, or just someone on the street. They do so with impunity because they KNOW they will almost always get away with it.

    The very rare case here, of someone getting caught, only shows how bad it is. Even when they are caught in the act, they still abuse their power and can abuse the victim, only paying the price in the very end when a stubborn victim refuses to cower in fear.

    Yeah, one finally got fired, but just think how many victims he did that to before getting caught, how many lives he ruined, how many people are in jail or have a record because they didn’t give in to his sexual demands.

    It’s disgusting, and it’s criminal, but the cops, judges, and everyone involved get away with this every single day.

  22. I didn’t think the judgmental statement pertained to me. I expressed my outrage earlier. Read for chrissake! I was just saying it is NOBODY’S business to tell others how they should feel. Psych 101! And that’s exactly what you did, and I called you on it. When you or your buddy are called on horseshit you cry foul. I would hate to play a pickup b-ball game w/ you guys. It would be all fouls. The truth does often hurt. Deal w/ it.

    And of course, it’s the double team. I said nothing to you, Gene. Don’t you think MikeS can handle himself? Or are you the self appointed sgt. @ arms. The patroller of violators of “secret rules” that carry “double secret” monitoring and deletions from the Chief of Stasi. Basta!

  23. “I expressed my outrage earlier. Read for chrissake! I was just saying it is NOBODY’S business to tell others how they should feel. Psych 101! And that’s exactly what you did, and I called you on it.”


    That is nonsense and if you don’t know it then you are seriously deluding yourself. Here is the source of your outrage when I wrote in my first comment above:

    “Obviously though, maintaining a fair legal system is a very hard thing to do. some may think that I’ve strayed too far from this case to a macro-cosmic view of a police state in action. I would answer by saying yous look at that video again and if in your gut you don’t feel anger and outrage at this vile human being, then perhaps you are part of the problem.”

    I was expressing my opinion, not telling anyone how to feel, but stating again my opinion that if someone wasn’t moved by the video then they were part of the problem. You can disagree with that opinion, you can even explain why you think I am wrong, but using the term “outrage” seems a deep and phony overreaction. Especially by this exchange before I even commented:

    From Balanced at 9:52am:

    “Ugh, this makes me ill, and quite frankly makes me exceptionally discouraged with our legal system and government in general.”

    From Nick at 10:01am:

    “Balanced, Find your balance, these are not the norm.”

    So Nick aren’t you telling Balance what to feel? Should he feel “outraged” by your comment? Should we feel “outraged” by his comment? The difference is that in your usual fashion you were trying to continue your “fight” against me.
    The reason I have called you deceitful in the past and call you deceitful now is for actions such as this which are ad hominem. The reason they are so is that if you disagree with me than disagree with my arguments, rather than simply classifying them with such terms as “outrage”. Now it is possible that you are unaware of the dishonesty of your techniques of comment here, but to believe that I would have to assume you are stupid and you are clearly not stupid.

    Your MO is quite obvious to anybody knowing the rudiments and it was obvious that you were again attacking me by using ad hominem arguments. You simply can’t comprehend that it doesn’t bother me when people disagree with my opinions and in many instances I have changed my opinions based on the logic of their arguments. While I hate to be categorical, in your case it is true that you have never once disagreed with me by refuting my position. From you it has always been ad hominem attack. Gene and others here know me well enough to know that I’m quite capable of defending myself in any debate. Gene is not protecting me, Gene is protecting this blog, which despite your protestations to the contrary, is being purposely disrupted by you.

    Darren has patiently explained to you what you are doing that causes Gene and I to react and you haven’t responded to him, even though there was nothing vituperative in what he said. That is also your habit here. You never answer an argument by responding to the argument without ad hominem attacks.

    So you understand clearly I am not writing this because I believe you will get the message, but because I feel the need to fully explain (what you try to avoid by making short, enigmatic, passive-aggressive comments)
    your technique here.

  24. No, you didn’t say anything to me. However, you’ve continued your ad hominem attacks against others – which is still unacceptable. As I said, noticed and noted. Your targets of choice are immaterial to your rule violation.

    So here’s what’s going to happen.

    I’ve already got a substantial log of such attacks made by you stretching back months. I’m going to keep building it. Every time you act this way, an entry is made on the spreadsheet. When this community has finally had enough of your flaunting the rules? We’ll collectively make the case to have you banned from this site. In short, you can learn to keep the ad hominem gibberish to yourself or you’ll be gone. Is that clear enough for you to understand, nick?

    Or . . . you could realize it’s just better for you if you follow the rules.

    One day, you’ll just be gone. It may not be this week. It may be in a couple of months. But it will happen unless you learn to control yourself.

    It’s pretty obvious at this point though that you are incapable of controlling yourself for even 24 hours after receiving a substantive warning about your bad behavior.

    That’s the very definition of pathological.

    Thanks for making this task easier. Well. Maybe thanks isn’t the right word since you really don’t seem to be able to help yourself.

    Carry on.

  25. Will I be able to represent myself @ this proceeding or is it secret rules, secret star chamber, and secret sentencing. “Entry on a spreadsheet”, don’t you realize how ludicrous you are. Rain Man kept a spreadsheet of “violations”, that’s what I’m picturing here. Are you an “excellent driver?” “Five minutes till Wapner!” You’re a self parody but don’t have the self awareness to see it. Where’s all your support on this crusade? Is that also secret? Is there a secret handshake? Give it up and just move on, private.

  26. “Will I be able to represent myself @ this proceeding or is it secret rules, secret star chamber, and secret sentencing.”

    You are representing yourself via your comments, whose nature is the best testimony against you.

  27. Is you digging yourself a deeper hole by violating the very known rules against the rules?

    No. It’s not.

    Carry on.

  28. “What we have here is a failure to communicate.”

    “Luke, you got your mind right now?”

    Hey Luke ole boy, you were planning this all along.”

    Hell man, I ain’t never planned planned nothin’ in my life.”

    “Calling it your job boss don’t make it right.”

  29. “That’s a great fish there doc, you didn’t weigh the chain did ya?”

    “we’re going to watch the World Series, Nurse Ratchet”

    Wait a minute, you’re part Rain Man and part Nurse just came to me.

    Let me know how many demerits I have, I’m going to read my wife’s book, Taken For Granted, a psychological thriller, available on Amazon. I’ll check back tomorrow. You’ve not yet disparaged my wife or son yet. Kudos

  30. Nick, I would recommend and ask that you show some better consideration for Jonathan Turley, our host here. It’s usually not polite to go to a gathering at someone’s home and make a scene. It should be understood that even if you believe Gene and Mike S. are wrong in what they are asking of you to curtail, they are still as guest bloggers representative of Professor Turley.

    I really don’t see how spamming a blog article does not result in annoyance on behalf of the blog’s owner or other contributors or readers. It sparks more of defiance than it does making good arguments on the various topics hosted here. Remember this is in many respects an international forum, given the international host of people who contribute and read here. We should try to keep that in mind in that this can reflect on us and our host. JT does have a reputation to maintain especially given the limelight he commands and if his blog degenerated into the caliber of posts reflective of an IRC chatroom, it isn’t helpful to him or his visitors here or elsewhere.

    Just my views.

  31. I am astonished by the Commissioner’s conduct. At the very least, she likely violated several cannons set forth in Nevada’s Judicial Cannons Code of Conduct. Specifically, Cannons: 2.12 (supervision), 2.8 (courtroom decorum) 2.6 (right to be heard) and 2.3 (prejudice, bias and harassment). I am also sure there are issues with her compliance with Nevada’s Rules of Professional Responsibility for lawyers.

    In the face of harassing conduct by both the bailiff and marshall, she failed to intervene, which simply would have been to exercise her authority in the courtroom, order both to cease and desist, separate the witness from each of them and call for assistance to address the allegations, like any other allegation. I have not heard whether she has been disciplined or not. I certainly think some form of discipline is called for. Does anyone know?


  32. nick:

    is that what you were upset about? I was really wondering why you posted what you did. I went back and re-read Mike’s post and could not figure it out until he pointed it out above.

    You know I enjoy your posts but I think maybe you have let Mike and Gene get under your skin. As I have said before, they are quite restrained in their treatment of you. I would honestly just let it go and ignore them.

  33. Firing that court employee was not enough. If he had any other kind of job — security officer, vet, professor, accountant, toll booth collector — he would have been arrested. He broke the law. Jail ‘im. And the woman — whose dignity and grace was a good example of casting pearls before swine — should sue.

  34. personally i think a ignore button should be put into place so when certain posters begin their attacks on others for no reason accept they want attention. then those of us who DO NOT WANT TO READ what that poster has to say can simply hit the ignore button on them and that way we can all get back to reading those posts which are following the rules, which are debating LEGIT TOPICS. and not being a clown for the simple need of no not receiving any attention at home..

    I DO NOT COMMENT ALL OF THE TIME. as sometimes i cant the carpal tunnel makes it difficult but i read here all the time and have been for many years now. I finally got the nerve up a few years back to begin adding a comment every 10 articles or so . with that said i have watched nick go after Mr Spindelli and Mr Gene many, many times for no reason at all. i have watched them ignore him many times but like a infected gnat he will just not stop until they pay him attention. i am not speaking for anyone but myself. and i myself am tired of having to read thru his ignorant attacks on these 2 gentlemen so that he can get the attention he wants from them.

  35. Robinh,

    Thank you for your comments especially in light of your carpal tunnel. I’m lucky enough not to have that issue, but I’ve got a friend who has to wear braces and the whole nine yards. A very painful and frustrating condition. Best of luck on mitigating it.

  36. Well, I would have liked to comment on how vile the family court staff’s conduct and actions – or lack of – in this case, but it seems the comments have been trumped by a couple individuals berating each other. It takes away a sincere effort here to bring awareness of judicial abuse, with this tit-for-tat warring of words between these individuals. Sad. Still, what has happened in Clark County deserves absolute investigation, and I am glad that the victim is taking more action.

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