Former prosecutor gets jail in Las Vegas drug case

February 27, 2012 - 8:05 PM
Prosecutor Drug Charge

This undated police booking photo released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department showes former Deputy District Attorney David Schubert. Schubert a former top drug prosecutor who handled the Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars cocaine possession plea deals in Las Vegas has been sentenced to nine months in jail in his own felony cocaine possession case. (AP Photo/Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former top Las Vegas drug prosecutor who handled the high-profile Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars cocaine possession plea deals was sentenced Monday to nine months in county jail in a felony crack possession case.

Former Deputy District Attorney David Schubert apologized to the court for what he called "a tragedy," and then stood silently as a state court judge berated him as "a disgrace to his oath as a prosecutor and a lawyer."

Clark County District Judge Carolyn Ellsworth also said that the terms of a plea deal that could have gotten Schubert probation and a chance to clear his record were "offensive."

"I'm not going to give you the special treatment," the judge said.

Police arrested Schubert in March 2011 after they watched another man get out of Schubert's car, go into an apartment complex and return. Officers found Schubert with a $40 rock of crack cocaine and confiscated an unregistered 9 mm handgun from his car.

Schubert once handled Clark County's highest-profile drug prosecutions as the district attorney office's liaison to a federal drug task force.

Hilton, 30, was arrested after police said 0.8 grams of cocaine fell out of her handbag following a Las Vegas Strip traffic stop in August 2010. The celebrity socialite received a year of probation on misdemeanor cocaine possession and obstruction charges. She successfully completed probation last fall.

Mars, 26, was cleared in January of a felony cocaine possession charge after staying out of trouble for a year and meeting other conditions of a plea deal. The Grammy-winning pop star, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, acknowledged in court in February 2011 that he had 2.6 grams of cocaine after a performance at a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino nightclub.

Schubert resigned from the prosecutor's office after his arrest and underwent two months of inpatient substance abuse counseling. The 48-year-old has been undergoing outpatient alcohol and drug counseling since May, and has been practicing criminal defense law in some of the same courtrooms where he was a prosecutor for 10 years.

Schubert pleaded guilty to a felony charge of unlawful possession of a controlled substance not for sale. The conviction could threaten his law career, depending on a review by the State Bar of Nevada and action by the state Supreme Court, bar official Phil Pattee said.

The judge ordered Schubert to surrender March 12 to begin his jail sentence.

Defense attorney William Terry said he may appeal the sentence or ask the judge to take the rare step of setting it aside.