Las Vegas Sun

July 31, 2014

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Boulder City:

DUI trial for former councilwoman postponed a fifth time

Karla Burton was arrested on DUI charges in 2007

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Karla Burton

A trial on a driving under the influence charge against former Boulder City Councilwoman Karla Burton was delayed again today, the fifth time the case has been postponed in Las Vegas Justice Court.

Deputy District Attorney Bruce Nelson said the chemist who analyzed a blood sample taken after Burton's arrest two years ago has since died, and the sample must be analyzed again.

Burton said she was disappointed by the delay.

"I would like to get this resolved," she said.

Burton was arrested Feb. 6, 2007, after Boulder City police officers saw her in her car at a gas station parking lot on Nevada Highway, according to police records. She was charged with DUI after failing a field sobriety test, records indicate. Her blood alcohol content was .274, more than three times the legal limit of .08, according to police records.

Police Chief Thomas Finn said he has asked the district attorney's office not to accept a plea deal that reduces the charges.

"That's not what I want. That's not what the city wants," Finn said. "It doesn't serve justice to negotiate a lesser plea."

Finn, who was the victim of a DUI crash when he was 20, has made driving under the influence one of his key focuses throughout his police career, he said.

Nelson has said a plea agreement is possible before trial, which has been rescheduled for Oct. 28.

Finn said he has talked to officials in the district attorney's office about an alternative to a trial, the Moderate Offender Program, which involves intensive supervision and treatment for a year or more before reducing the charge and resolving the case.

The program requires the offender to admit being drunk and includes 90 days of house arrest with no alcohol allowed in the home, unannounced checks and one-on-one counseling.

"In my past, I would have said, 'No way. There needs to be punishment,'" he said. "But this is a way to get treatment for someone who may not seek it."

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