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District attorney: Las Vegas constable will not face DUI charge

Updated Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 | 6:45 p.m.

Click to enlarge photo

John Bonaventura, shown in 2004 as a candidate for the Clark County Commission.

Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura will not face criminal charges related to his arrest last week on suspicion of driving under the influence, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.

In a statement, Wolfson said that although Bonaventura’s preliminary breath test showed he was over the legal blood-alcohol limit when he was pulled over Feb. 12, that test is not admissible in court. An arrest report indicates he registered a level of 0.099 on that test.

A second, admissible breath test showed Bonaventura’s blood-alcohol level at 0.069, below the legal limit of 0.08. That test was administered at the Clark County Detention Center less than two hours after his arrest, the report said.

“For these reasons I do not believe that this office could prove Mr. Bonaventura’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” Woflson said in the statement.

Lou Toomin, a spokesman for the Las Vegas Township Constable's Office, said Bonaventura would not have a comment on Wolfson's decision.

"The constable made a statement when he got out of jail: 'I'm not guilty.' That's his statement," Toomin said.

Bonaventura was pulled over after Nevada Highway Patrol officers responded to a report of an erratic vehicle traveling on U.S. 95 near Boulder Highway, according to an arrest report.

Officers followed the vehicle as it exited west onto Tropicana Avenue and clocked the vehicle at 50 miles per hour, five over the speed limit, as it made its way into a nearby Wal-Mart shopping center, the report said.

After initiating the stop, the officer reported the smell of Bonaventura’s breath and that he had “bloodshot, glassy and watery eyes,” the report said.

Bonaventura told the officer he hadn’t been drinking and said he was on his way home from his office, the report said. His official weapon was in the car’s center console when he was pulled over, according to the report.

After he exited the vehicle, the situation became tense as Bonaventura refused to follow the officer’s commands, prompting the officer at one point to draw his Taser, the report said.

The officer reported he felt Bonaventura was trying to use his law-enforcement status to intimidate him.

Bonaventura failed two of three field sobriety tests and was arrested after registering a blood alcohol content of 0.099 on the preliminary breath tests, the report said.

He was booked into Clark County Detention Center and was released the next day.

Bonaventura’s arrest came the same day Clark County commissioners announced they’d consider an ordinance to abolish the Las Vegas Constable’s Office, which has been dogged by controversy since Bonaventura took office in 2011.

He alleges that he was followed by NHP officers after leaving his office downtown and that his arrest was retaliation against him by county officials.

Commissioners will hold a public hearing on March 19 and could decide to eliminate the office then.

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  1. Laws for them = Laws for us

  2. He wasn't drunk.

    The cop who arrested him didn't like his attitude. Plenty of sober people go to jail for "failing the attitude test".

    COPS LIE! (and they have skin as thin as grapes.)

    Of course, John Bonaventura isn't a saint; but he was sober.

    Dirty Cops V Corrupt Politicians?

    talk about choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea...

  3. An arrest only requires probable cause - a conviction requires a much higher standard - proof beyond reasonable doubt.

    Here, this guy's blood alcohol level was .069. The legal limit is .08. What part of that difference don't you people understand?

    Nevada educated I'm sure.........wait! =)

  4. I put this guys office practices right up there with Brooks , the embattled idiot in the Assembly. Get rid of both of them.

  5. Why isn't the test admissible? That't the only question that matters & it hasn't been asked or answered in anything I've read or heard.

    Even if the manual field sobriety tests were done in retaliation and the first test is properly inadmissible, the second showed proof positive that he had been drinking.

    Based on that we know either Bonaventura or the officer who quoted him as stating he hadn't been drinking, is a liar. And regardless of that, if Bonaventura was telling the truth that he had just left work and the police had followed him from work then he was drinking on the job.

    Smells too fishy. Someone needs to wrap this dude in newspaper and throw him out with the rest of the trash. He shouldn't be wearing any badge of any public office, especially with the power of an entire constables department at his disposal.

  6. Go on, make excuses for morons who drink & drive. It may come back to haunt you. There is no excuse to drink & drive. Period! And it is especially true of someone in that low-lifes position. His getting elected to any office shows just how dumb and lazy too many NV voters really are. And the Dumbocrats want to make it easier to vote? Now we see why. The dumbest and laziest are their bread & butter supporters!

  7. Wolfson is a poor DA. The officers observations of physical impairment, the driving, odor of alcohol and a citizens report were enough for an arrest. .099 at the time of arrest is over the limit. At a disipation rate of .015 per hour (standard) this was a winnable case. This sends a clear message to any motorist in Nevada with a similar case Impaired driving is OK. You can still be impaired below a .08 and convicted, as long as Wolfson is not the DA.

  8. Must be nice to not live by the law and get away with it.

  9. in nevada. The blood test is the gold standard. Should cops really have that much say in who is prosecuted?

    They have been know to lie and falsify evidence. Anyone hear of "Testilying?" THe "breathalyzer" is just a tool. Vindictive cops can calibrate it incorrectly and the field sobriety tests are completely subjective. Bonaventura didn't respect the cop's authority. That why he was arrested.

    Bonaventura is a loose cannon and possibly a criminal. Wolfson isn't a trustworthy DA. But Bonaventura; didn't receive any preferential treatment by the DA. If anything. Wolfson would have preferred to convict Bonaventura to please the county commission.

  10. This guy is an embarrasment to the voters who put him in there. His thugs, I mean deputies are out of control, bullies with badges is what they are. I hope they close that office but not the others that operate with respect to the community. Closing his office would send a mesage to the future candidates that corruptness will not be tolerated.

  11. Someone observed him having a drink (or they intentionally set him up for a drink) and subsequently reported him.

    Need to be more careful Ventura!

    The story says nothing about POLICE observing an impaired driver. The report only states that someone made a claim about an "eratic driver" (whatever that means) and Officer observation that Ventura was going five miles over the speed limit.

    Nothing more. I have blood shot eyes every other morning after I have my coffee - you think that is enough for a DUI? The PBT? Please!

    Food for thought:

    "Breathalyzers come in many different types ranging from disposable screening testers to digital display breath alcohol monitors. But broadly they fall under three categories: Evidential Breath Testing Devices, Non-Evidential Portable Hand Held Devices (PBT), and Disposable Devices. Evidential Breath Testing Devices are expensive and requires maintenance, calibration, handling by certified professional, and their results are admissible in court. Whereas (PBT) Non-Evidential portable hand held devices are used for preliminary screening purposes only. These devices are less expensive and their results are not admissible in court.

    The main drawback of breathalyzers is that they are sensitive to various substances in environment like gasoline, paint removers etc which can give erroneous BAC level. The breathalyzers are also sensitive to temperature which can result in altered results.

    If a police officer has reasonable cause to believe that you may be intoxicated, the officer may request you to submit a preliminary breath test. The police officer can make an arrest based upon the results of a preliminary breath test analysis. Keeping in mind that the device may not show correct results and a police officer can initiate an arrest based on the device's results, it is not advisable for you to submit to a PBT. It is only a civil infringement to refuse a preliminary breath test, with nominal fines but it is a misdemeanor for a commercial driver to refuse a PBT.

    To sum it all up the use of a portable breath test (PBT) as part of pre-arrest evaluation by the police may not be accurate. Further a preliminary breath test instrument (PBT) is not a proper breathalyzer, as it does not meet the breathalyzer accuracy standards and it does not use infrared technology to determine a person's blood alcohol content. That's the reason why PBT results are legally inadmissible at any DUI trial. A (PBT) preliminary breath test is considered just a field sobriety evaluation and a refusal to submit to a PBT, like the other field sobriety tests, is also admissible." Richard Jacobs

  12. Cont..

    In the spirit of Treasure's concern with the Public's "sheepish" behavior in granting law enforcement too much discretion - everyone must take caution in your willingness to lay down your guard and confide too much in law enforcement/politicians, etc.

    These people are public servants. They serve the PUBLIC - they do a respectable job - but law enforcement must yield to the public not the other way around.

  13. Because "reasonable to believe" is quite the opposite of the legal standard of PROOF BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

    You don't get to pick and choose what standard to use. Some of these comments are so absurd - they sound like Taliban justice.