Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada – Righting Wrongs, Changing Lives
By: Barbara Buckley, Esq., Executive Director
When Arturo Martinez turned in for the night with his wife and three young children in his modest Las Vegas home, he had no idea that his life would soon take a tragic turn. His oldest boy awoke the next morning to find his mother and sister lying dead and his father bleeding and unable to function due to blunt force trauma to his head. An unimaginable horror had befallen Arturo’s family… an intruder had broken into their home and ripped their lives to pieces.
We soon received word that Arturo was in desperate need of our services. He had survived the attack, but was fragile and barely able to speak. Among the many legal issues that he faced, two required immediate attention: extended family members were contemplating competing court actions to take custody of his boys, and he could never return to his home as it had become an excruciating symbol of loss. Selling his home seemed an impossible solution, as the mortgage was “upside down.”
Arturo needed an effective legal advocate, and we were there for him. We successfully dismissed the family court petitions and had Arturo’s children released to him the day he was well enough to come home. His home was another crucial aspect of this family’s recovery- we worked with his bank to forgive his mortgage so this brave father and his boys would not have to go back to the home where so much tragedy occurred. We also recruited a pro bono attorney to draft a will for Arturo prior to follow-up brain surgery so that his wishes for his boys would be known in case anything happened to Arturo during surgery.
At Legal Aid Center, we are in the business of righting wrongs and mending lives. We make sure that victims of crime (including domestic abuse and neglect, consumer fraud, and random acts of incredible violence) have someone in their corner as they face the legal system. We also help community members who have been hit hard by the economic downturn – facing foreclosure, bankruptcy, and divorce – forge a new path. For the most vulnerable among us, we make sure that access to justice is more than a slogan.
For more information about Legal Aid Center, including how to refer people in need, our volunteer opportunities, and how you can get involved, feel free to give me a call at (702) 386-1406.