Douglas JP Facing Complaint After Inmate's Suicide

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Nevada Judicial Discipline Commission on Tuesday scheduled a Sept. 3 hearing for a Douglas County justice of the peace accused of numerous improprieties during a probation revocation hearing for a one-time football star and former Supreme Court justice's son who later hanged himself in jail.

The accusations against Jim EnEarl were brought by Mary Boetsch, special prosecutor for the Judicial Discipline Commission, following an investigation into the way the East Fork Township justice of the peace handled the case of Joseph Manoukian in May 2001.

EnEarl didn't immediately respond to a request, made to an office staffer, for comment on the allegations. David Sarnowski, executive director and general counsel for the Discipline Commission, declined to say who filed the complaint that led to Boetsch's accusations.

Boetsch alleged EnEarl, a former Douglas County sheriff's captain, had Manoukian appear before him to see whether he should be found in contempt and have his probation revoked _ but didn't notify Manoukian's court-appointed attorney, Mike Roeser.

During the hearing, Boetsch said EnEarl wouldn't let Manoukian speak fully, considered unsworn statements and ex parte communications as evidence, and stated as a fact Manoukian didn't have a job even though Manoukian said he did.

Boetsch also said EnEarl was discourteous and impatient and didn't take himself off the case even though he displayed"personal animus and bias against Mr. Manoukian."

The special prosecutor also said EnEarl conducted part of the hearing without Manoukian being present.

Manoukian was sentenced to serve six months in jail for violating his probation by failing to appear at the hearing. His family said he was 15 minutes late for the session.

He had been placed on probation for writing $1,000 in bad checks, which his family said he had paid back.

Manoukian had been troubled by drug use but his father, former Justice Noel Manoukian, said he was trying to clean up his life. His mother, Louise Manoukian, said her son was on antidepressants and had been battling severe depression.

Manoukian hanged himself after giving his father a letter to deliver to EnEarl. In the letter, he wrote that he had "stayed clean and have been trying to put my life back on track. The only real battle that I have been fighting is the battle of depression."

Manoukian graduated from Douglas High School in 1993 and was the state's leading receiver in football. He attended junior college in Monterey, Calif. where he also played football.


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