Zaon Collins’ legal professionals ask court docket to toss DUI cost in deadly crash

Attorneys for former UNLV basketball recruit Zaon Collins are asking the Nevada Supreme Courtroom to order the dismissal of a DUI cost in opposition to the previous prime prospect arising from a lethal 2019 crash.

In court docket paperwork filed Tuesday, attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld argued that the fees are based mostly on unconstitutional state legal guidelines concerning driving whereas underneath the affect of marijuana.

The legal professionals have mentioned Collins was not impaired by marijuana on the time of the Dec. 30, 2019, crash that left 52-year-old Eric Echevarria lifeless. Collins, 19 on the time, was driving his 2016 Dodge Challenger at practically 90 mph in a 35 mph zone when he crashed right into a 2016 Hyundai Accent pushed by Echevarria, police have mentioned.

Las Vegas police have mentioned Collins had 3.0 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in his system. The authorized restrict for drivers in Nevada on the time of the crash was 2.0 nanograms per milliliter.

Collins’ legal professionals have mentioned the extent of THC in Collins’ system was so low, it may have been consumed days earlier than the crash.

Chesnoff and Schonfeld have argued {that a} new state legislation, enacted July 1, ought to apply to Collins’ case as a result of it’s nonetheless being litigated. That statute eliminated a prohibition on particular quantities of marijuana in a driver’s blood for misdemeanor circumstances however maintained the restrict in felony DUI circumstances.

The legal professionals additionally argued the brand new state legislation is unconstitutional partially as a result of it depends on completely different requirements for misdemeanor and felony circumstances.

The “arbitrary” 2.0 nanogram restrict was set in 1999 based mostly on the minimal stage of THC that expertise on the time may take a look at for, in response to Tuesday’s court docket paperwork.

“It’s clear that there was no rational foundation in figuring out that the two nanogram stage was acceptable for contemplating whether or not an individual was impaired for legal DUI functions,” Chesnoff and Schonfeld wrote.

They’ve additionally argued that the Clark County district legal professional’s workplace shouldn’t have continued to pursue felony DUI and reckless driving costs in opposition to Collins after a grand jury in March refused to return an indictment on the DUI depend.

magistrate Suzan Baucum refused to dismiss the fees in July. On Friday, District Decide Susan Johnson filed court docket papers refusing to reverse Baucum’s choice.

“At a listening to on this matter the District Courtroom acknowledged twice that this was a ‘shut one,’” Chesnoff and Schonfeld wrote in Tuesday’s court docket paperwork. “Particularly, the court docket acknowledged. … ‘You definitely have a problem to take as much as the Nevada Supreme Courtroom and possibly this would be the one case.’”

Though the grand jury solely authorised one of many costs in opposition to Collins, prosecutors proceed to pursue each counts within the decrease court docket and have mentioned they might push for a preliminary listening to for a justice of the peace to resolve if there may be sufficient proof for Collins to face trial.

A standing test in Collins’ case is scheduled for Feb. 3 in Las Vegas Justice Courtroom.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at [email protected] or 702-383-0240. Observe @k_newberg on Twitter.

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