A massive federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against Nye County, the Town of Pahrump and several current and former top law enforcement officers on behalf of a former sheriff’s deputy late last month.
Daryal Taylor is the plaintiff in the case. He was accused in 2008 of performing a sex act on a female jail inmate named Shannon Knight while she was in his custody. He was transporting the inmate to and from a medical appointment when the alleged incident occurred.
Taylor, a deputy for about 5 years, subsequently left the sheriff’s office after he was arrested in March 2008 and charged with kidnapping, sexual assault and oppression under color of law. He was eventually prosecuted in 2011 on only two charges, both Category D felonies: oppression under the color of authority and voluntary sexual conduct between a prisoner and another person.
A jury took about 30 minutes to acquit the former deputy.
When the trial was over, Taylor expressed jubilation at the results.
“I feel fantastic. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve got to say, I don’t have any animosity towards the Nye County Sheriff’s Office. Somebody accused someone of a crime and they did what they thought they had to do, so I don’t hold anything against them,” he said.
Those good sentiments toward his former employer appear to have dissipated since his acquittal.
Named in the Nov. 27 federal civil rights suit are the county, town, Det. David Boruchowitz, Sheriff Tony DeMeo, Assistant Sheriff Rick Marshall, former Sgt. Travis Huggins, investigator Mary Huggins, a former NCSO lieutenant, Ed Howard, the Nye County District Attorney’s Office, the county’s chief prosecutor, Kirk Vitto, and former District Attorney Bob Beckett.
C. Conrad Claus, ironically the attorney hired by Beckett to prosecute Boruchowitz during a particularly nasty chapter in recent Nye County history, is representing Taylor.
Claus could not be reached for comment, but the federal complaint he authored on Taylor’s behalf lobs some ugly allegations against the defendants named in the lawsuit.
The most harsh seem to be reserved for Boruchowitz, himself no stranger to litigation — he has a federal lawsuit against the county and Beckett as well. Taylor accuses the detective of lying under oath, withholding evidence that could have helped clear Taylor from the start and an assortment of civil rights violations stemming from Taylor’s initial police interview, the investigation, his arrest and later court hearings in the matter.
“The fact that Defendant Boruchowitz made false representations in official proceedings and withheld material favorable impeachment evidence further demonstrates that he KNEW that probable cause to arrest Mr. Taylor did not exist,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit makes issue of the fact Taylor was arrested on serious felony charges, for which he was not later tried, and where bail was set in excess of $100,000.
The complaint further relays questionable investigative tactics involving NCSO brass, including a refusal to use a DNA test on the private parts of Taylor’s accuser, which the suit states Taylor “pleaded” be done. Also, the lawsuit recounts how Knight, in jail for drug trafficking and with a history of making false allegations, sought to act as a snitch in order to secure a visit with her significant other as well as for monetary benefits shortly before she accused Taylor of assaulting her. Taylor’s complaint offers one example where Knight specifically called Vitto offering her services. She was rebuffed, however, because, as the complaint states, she was not considered a credible witness.
The lawsuit also spins a tale from Taylor’s District Court trial, in which testimony was taken from Boruchowitz about an allegation supposedly critical to Taylor’s prosecution, namely that a videotape showed he stopped his car outside a local casino, with the inmate in his patrol car, ostensibly so that the deputy could sexually penetrate the female inmate with one of his fingers.
“During the trial, the Defendant Boruchowitz committed perjury, by among other things, stating to the jury that the Plaintiff’s vehicle had appeared to slow down as it passed Irene’s Casino. That this testimony was known to be false, and Defendant Boruchowitz further committed perjury when he falsely claimed that he could not get the video tape, which he had represented showed the plaintiff’s vehicle appearing to slow down, to play for the jury. That the District Court was not buying this excuse, and in order to protect and honor the Plaintiff’s civil rights, ordered Defendant Boruchowitz to get the tape to play for the jury,” the complaint reads.
“That upon playing the video tape, the jury was literally bewildered that Defendant Boruchowitz could commit such blatant perjury; one juror held up their hands in amazement and disgust.”
Boruchowitz declined to comment when informed of the lawsuit. DeMeo, when reached for comment, said Taylor resigned voluntarily from his department and that the courts found probable cause to continue the prosecution against the former deputy. He was not, however, aware of Taylor’s lawsuit. Marshall said he had not seen the lawsuit, but was confident there would be a successful defense against any allegations of wrongdoing.
Taylor makes eight claims of relief, seeking compensatory and special damages, punitive damages, costs and attorney fees, and relief “as the Court deems warranted.”
No monetary amount was given in the lawsuit.
Taylor’s civil action will reportedly soon be followed by another civil rights case lodged against the county and top law enforcement authorities by yet another former deputy.
William Tidmarsh says he, too, is planning to sue. He was a deputy from 2007 to 2009. He was arrested in February 2009 after allegations were made by a woman he drove home from a bar that he groped her on the way.
He was facing three gross misdemeanor charges related to the incident. A trial scheduled for January last year in the case was declared a mistrial. A new trial was supposed to be scheduled, but instead, several weeks ago, the district attorney’s office informed Tidmarsh’s lawyer, who happens to be the same as Taylor’s, that the charges against him were dropped.
Reached by phone Thursday, Tidmarsh said he is planning to file a similar civil rights lawsuit after the first of the year. He also expressed an interest in running for Nye County sheriff.
“It’s a shame I didn’t get my day in court, to get all of this out. I was really hoping all of the information would come out and the court would find me not guilty, instead of it just being dismissed, so that everything could just be exposed,” the former deputy said.