Weddell files federal suit against county officials

A federal lawsuit alleging civil rights and criminal violations by Carson City officials and employees has been filed on behalf of Carson City contractor Rolland Weddell, his daughter, an employee and up to 50 unnamed additional plaintiffs.

The defendants also include two brothers Weddell accuses of kidnapping his daughter and running a Blazer into his employee, as well as up to 50 unnamed individual and corporate defendants.

The Oct. 13 filing is the latest in a string of court filings by both Weddell and Carson City since Weddell was arrested in October 1997 for firing a gun at one of the brothers while attempting to place him under citizen's arrest.

Brothers John and James Bustamonte were never charged with the alleged kidnapping or assault with the Blazer, but Weddell faced charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and misdemeanor discharging a firearm where others may be present.

During Weddell's November 1997 preliminary hearing, James Bustamonte - the target of Weddell's attempted citizen's arrest - was a prosecution witness. Prosecutor Anne Langer and Willis agreed that Bustamonte needed an attorney and Willis appointed one, who prevented Bustamonte from answering the defense's questions.

Weddell still pressed for the arrests for the brothers. Since a meeting with District Attorney Noel Waters failed to accomplish that , Weddell himself attempted in February 1998 to filed a criminal complaint against the Bustamontes in Carson City Justice Court. According to the new federal complaint, Justice of the Peace Robey Willis refused to allow Weddell's criminal complaint to be filed and Waters later came and took Weddell's complaint from the courthouse.

Weddell subsequently filed a motion to remove from office Waters, Langer, Sheriff Rod Banister and seven sheriff's deputies for malfeasance and misfeasance. It was dismissed and Weddell appealed it, unsuccessfully. Weddell petitioned the state supreme court for a new preliminary hearing, but lost. He filed another malfeasance complaint against Waters and Bannister for the way public funds were used to defend them against his earlier filing. A judge tossed that petition out, too.

A district judge ruled in June that Nevada law permitted Weddell to use deadly force during a citizen's arrest; Waters has appealed the ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court.

The complaint for the federal suit chronicles all of of Weddell's earlier allegations and complaints and adds a string of state law violations including neglect or refusal to receive a person into custody and aiding and abetting kidnapping. The defendants include Waters, Banister, Langer, six sheriffs deputies, Willis and the Bustamonte brothers. The complaint also alleges the defendants comprise a criminal enterprise and have engaged in racketeering activity.

The federal violations charged include obstruction of access to the courts; conspiracy; negligence; gross negligence; assault and battery; conspiracies to violate civil rights, to commit murder, to commit manslaughter, to commit battery with intent to commit a crime, to commit assault with a deadly weapon and to commit a kidnapping.

Carson city lawyer Day Williams filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiffs.


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