LAS VEGAS (AP) — A former prosecutor-turned-fugitive who once handled the high-profile Las Vegas drug cases of celebrities Paris Hilton and Bruno Mars was sentenced Wednesday to a reduced term of 12 to 30 months in state prison term following his return from Mexico.
David Schubert, 49, fled there to avoid jail after pleading guilty in a crack cocaine possession case. In court Wednesday, he didn't apologize as he stood for sentencing before Clark County District Court Judge Carolyn Ellsworth, defense attorney Louis Schneider said.
"He feels as if he shouldn't have even been there," Schneider said later.
Instead, Schubert told the judge he felt he'd been treated exceptionally harshly for his March 2011 arrest with $40 in rock cocaine and an unregistered handgun in his car.
Ellsworth revoked a sentence that she imposed in February that would have Schubert serve nine months in county jail as a requirement of probation. But she also cut his prison term from a possible 16 to 40 months, gave Schubert 40 days credit for time served and ordered him enrolled in a prison substance abuse program.
Schneider said Schubert was grateful for the reduced sentence and opportunity for treatment and said he hopes to resume practicing law in the future. Schubert's law license was suspended by the state Supreme Court just before he fled to Mexico on Sept. 21. He was arrested at the border Sept. 30 while re-entering the U.S. after spending time in the Mexican coastal resort towns of Rosarito Beach and Ensenada.
Thom Gover, the deputy Nevada state attorney general who prosecuted the case, called Schubert's revised sentence appropriate.
"If the interest of justice and rehabilitation is the goal, one to 2 1/2 years is enough," Gover said.
The sentence was first reported Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (http://bit.ly/VEiAxh ).
Schubert resigned from the Clark County district attorney's office after his March 2011 arrest and pleaded guilty in September 2011 to felony unlawful possession of a controlled substance. Felony conspiracy, weapon and drug use charges were dropped under a plea deal that avoided trial.
Schubert expected mandatory probation and a chance to wipe the felony conviction from his record. But Ellsworth rejected the plea deal in February, berating Schubert as "a disgrace to his oath as a prosecutor and a lawyer" and declaring that Schubert wouldn't get special treatment.
Among the high-profile cases Schubert handled were plea deals that spared both Hilton and Mars from serving jail time.
Hilton, 30, was arrested in August 2010 after police said 0.8 grams of cocaine fell out of her handbag following a Las Vegas Strip traffic stop. The celebrity socialite successfully completed a year of probation on misdemeanor cocaine possession and obstruction charges.
Mars, 27, 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 told the Review-Journal during a jailhouse interview last month that he was ready to accept responsibility in his case.
"I did what I did, and I accept the consequences," he said. "But I don't feel I was treated fairly by the system."