For anyone who truly admires outside the box thinking, you’re about to become a big fan of Las Vegas casinos. It’s well known that casinos, unlike other businesses, take crime within their very flashy walls serious, so much so that they maintain quite elaborate security forces and their own private jails, where people can theoretically be held until the gendarmes come to fetch them.
If this seems troubling, it beats the old system, gently referred to as the broken knee approach. But as anyone who has ever put chip to felt should know, the rule of casinos is that the odds favor the house. With a captive audience, it would just be wasteful to pass up an opportunity like this. Enter United States Justice Associates.
From KTNV Contact 13 in Vegas,
The video begins with ominous music and grainy jail images… inmates in CCDC uniforms and handcuffs shuffling out a courtroom door to return to their cells.
“At the end of this video, you will be required to make a decision that could affect you for the rest of your life,” the male narrator says in a serious tone.
“Hello, I’m speaking to you on behalf of United States Justice Associates. You have been detained by this establishment because of your involvement in a crime,” the narrator says.
The program is the brainchild of Stephen Brox, who, much to his misfortune, didn’t find the same program available to him when he was arrested earlier in the week on sexual assault charges. The Las Vegas Metro Police are now looking into this program, investigating coerced confessions and extortion. Oddly, Brox wasn’t talking. But his attorney was.
“This program was designed, it is my understanding, to avoid arrests, avoid clogging up our already over-clogged justice system and to address relatively minor offenders with appropriate counseling,” [Brox's attorney, Robert] Draskovich says.
“It appears that a flat fee was chosen, which is not illegal, and it appears the casino did receive a part of the fee. The person deciding to go into the program had the ultimate choice whether he or she wanted to participate in the program,” says Draskovich.
And the video they watch while contemplating that decision in a casino holding cell tells them, “It’s important to make payment arrangements immediately. Otherwise your case and admission of guilt will be forwarded for prosecution, resulting in a conviction and jail time.”
When the program was pitched to a group of casino security chiefs it came with a letter obtained exclusively by Contact 13. It’s signed by then-Chief Justice Court Judge Douglas Smith, who’s writing it on behalf of United States Justice Associates. It carries his personal recommendation of their program, “wholeheartedly, and without reservation.”Shockingly, Chief Judge Smith received a $500 donation to his election campaign from USJA. No, it’s not shocking that they made the donation, but that Smith sold out for a mere $500. He could have done a whole lot better.
Judge Smith has been questioned by police and did not return our calls for comment.
We’ve also learned the program was pitched by Sheriff-turned Station Casinos security boss Bill Young.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.