POLITICS
03/05/2013 12:35 pm ET Updated Mar 05, 2013

Steven Brooks, Nevada Lawmaker Facing Felony Charges, Wants To Return To Legislature

A Nevada state legislator who has been indicted on charges of domestic violence and resisting arrest, while at the same time facing an investigation for threatening to kill the state Assembly speaker, wants to continue serving in the legislature.

An attorney for Assemblyman Steven Brooks (D-North Las Vegas) has asked legislative leaders to allow Brooks to return to work during the annual legislative session, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Brooks was placed on administrative leave and banned from the legislative building in Carson City on Feb. 11, a day after his arrest on domestic violence charges.

"The Legislature does not have the constitutional authority to put him on administrative leave," Brooks's attorney Mitchell Posin told the Review-Journal. "The Legislature is not his employer. He is an elected official."

Brooks was officially indicted on Monday on charges of domestic violence and resisting arrest, the Las Vegas Sun reported. In a Feb. 10 incident, Brooks allegedly attacked his wife and then attempted to resist arrest by grabbing for a responding police officer's gun.

A legislative committee is currently investigating Brooks to determine if he should continue to hold office. The panel was formed last month following a January incident in which Brooks allegedly threatened to kill Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D-North Las Vegas) because he was reportedly upset about being passed over for the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee. Brooks, who was carrying a gun at the time of his arrest in that incident, has said that Kirkpatrick wanted to kill him. The state attorney general is investigating the case.

In January, Brooks had to undergo a mental health evaluation after he was arrested in another incident for carrying a sword during a dispute at his grandmother's house. Brooks's state bodyguard was with him at the time.

Under state law, Brooks would not automatically lose his seat if convicted of the felony charges he faces. Instead, the Assembly would have to take steps to expel him from office.

Most states do not place legislators facing criminal charges on administrative leave. In New Jersey, Assemblyman Robert Schroeder (R-Washington Township) lost his committee assignments following his arrest on theft charges. In New York, Assemblyman William Boyland (D-Brooklyn) may be stripped of the chairmanship of the Outreach and Oversight of Senior Citizen Programs Subcommittee as he faces his second consecutive trial on bribery charges. Boyland was previously acquitted on bribery charges but faces allegations that he accepted bribes in order to pay his legal bills in his first trial.

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