Judge questions accused killer who wants to represent himself

A Nevada judge this week questioned whether it was wise for accused murderer Robert Telles, with no criminal experience, to represent himself at his trial in the high-profile murder of a Las Vegas investigative reporter.

Telles appeared in court Tuesday when Clark County District Court Judge Michelle Leavitt was questioned for nearly 45 minutes to determine if he is qualified to serve as his attorney

“I’m not playing games with you,” Leavitt said. “This is very, very serious. You are charged with first-degree murder. I mean, you’re facing life without the possibility of parole. I would think you would take it a little more seriously.”

“I prefer to represent myself,” he told the judge.

Telles, a former Nevada County Administrator, is accused of stabbing Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, 69, outside his home on Sept. 4.

German released a series of investigative reports on Telles, accusing him of abusing employees in his county commissioner’s office through bullying and inappropriate sexual relations. After German’s articles were published, Telles lost his re-election bid and even lashed out at German via Twitter.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Judge Leavitt asked Telles about his background as an attorney and noted that he had little experience practicing criminal law.

Telles argued that while he may lack his criminal court experience, he could do better than his defense attorney, the third defense attorney he has hired since his arrest.

Leavitt asked him about his experiences.

“You understand that once you’ve decided to self-advocate, you can’t change your mind mid-trial and seek counsel?” she asked.

“Yes, Your Honor,” he replied.

“Because I think I made it pretty clear that we’re not playing games here.”

Levitt asked Telles if he understood what he was committed to.

“Based on what you’re telling me, you don’t have the legal training or experience in this field.”

“It’s a compound question,” he said. “Yes, I understand the concerns, and I don’t know that you know that I will not represent myself effectively.”

Telles took office in 2019 and lost re-election in the Democratic primary on June 14, 2022.

In announcing Telles’ arrest, then-Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said it was an unusual case, the murder of an investigative journalist whose prime suspect was an elected official.

“This is a horrific and harrowing murder that has deeply affected Las Vegas.” he said. “Every murder is tragic, but the murder of a journalist is particularly upsetting. We hope that Telles’ arrest and subsequent prosecution will ultimately bring a sense of justice to our community and Mr. German’s family.”

Authorities said they linked the suspect to DNA found at the scene. They also said they linked the suspect to the crime through an orange shirt, bloody shoes, a straw hat and a maroon GMC Denali that was suspiciously driving in the neighborhood on the morning of the murder.

Law&Crime Network’s Sierra Gillespie contributed to this report.

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https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/im-not-playing-games-with-you-judge-questions-whether-accused-murderer-acting-as-his-own-attorney-is-a-wise-move/ Judge questions accused killer who wants to represent himself


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