Ex-Raider Ruggs’ Felony DUI Case Stalled by Fight Over Judge

Ex-Raider Ruggs’ Felony DUI Case Stalled by Fight Over Judge
Former Las Vegas Raiders player Henry Ruggs III (R) appears in court with one of his attorneys, Richard Schonfeld, at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on March 6, 2023. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

LAS VEGAS—A Nevada judge will again be asked to decide which justice of the peace should handle a preliminary hearing in the case against former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III, who is accused of killing a woman in drunken car crash in 2021.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Harmony Letizia told Ruggs and his attorneys on Monday that she lacks the authority to decide whether she or another judge should preside over the hearing to decide if there is enough evidence to warrant that Ruggs stand trial on charges of reckless driving and driving under the influence causing death.

Ruggs’ attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, said they will again take the issue to Clark County District Court, where a judge in January said the case should be assigned to the Las Vegas DUI specialty court docket.

Henry Ruggs III
Former Las Vegas Raiders player Henry Ruggs III waits in court at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on March 6, 2023. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

But the judge handling those cases recused himself because he said he talked about Ruggs’ case during his 2022 reelection campaign.

Prosecutors plan to present evidence that Ruggs had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit and that his Chevrolet Corvette was speeding at 156 mph (251 kph) before the fiery crash that killed a 23-year-old woman and her dog.

The Raiders quickly released the former first-round draft pick, who was in his second season with the team.

Ruggs, 24, is on house arrest. He could face up to 50 years in prison if he’s convicted.

It was not immediately clear Monday whether a case assignment will be made before a preliminary hearing currently scheduled for May 4.

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