FREE PRESS -- If the courtroom bailiffs in Las Vegas are going to lock reporters in after a hearing so they can't chase a departing VIP party for interviews, let's not treat this as a constitutional crisis, writes Brendan Buhler in the Las Vegas Sun. Let's offer it as another benefit of the secrecy hospitality of the town that reassures visitors, "What happens here stays here."

Showing an unprecedented level of creative initiative, the bailiffs
at Clark County Family Court have launched a new tourism and job
creation initiative: VIP justice.

This exciting strategy was unveiled Monday at a hearing to decide
whether to toss Michael Jackson’s deathbed doctor in jail for failing
to pay 15 grand in child support. Not only did the doctor get to skip
jail and forget about the money, but an armed bailiff was so solicitous
as to adopt the role of the doctor’s private security guard and keep a
dozen or so reporters trapped in the courtroom until the doctor was out
of the building and safe from questions.


Since then, it’s been a mess. Reporters, editors and pundits are
howling about the First Amendment and even the Fourth, the Family Court
is hemming and hawing, the bailiffs have gone mute and for some reason
no one can call this what it is: A great way to steal business from
California.


Specifically, the headliner crime business.

Just think of it: Every year in the Los Angeles area, celebrities
and other newsmakers are arrested, charged and tried, all in a swirl of
media coverage and quick-buck merchandising. But there is, alas, a dark
side to this industry: The celebrities involved are often treated like
criminals and sometimes wind up in jail.


If it isn’t careful, Los Angeles is going to lose its crime business
just as it’s losing film production to Canada and Eastern Europe. No
doubt agents and defense attorneys are already wondering if they could
do better for their clients somewhere else.


And here we have just sent the famous a message: If you have to make
a court appearance in Vegas, at least you’ll know you won’t have to
worry about the paparazzi. They’ll be corralled in the courtroom at no
cost to you, the taxpayers’ valued guests.

The timing is, for us, perfect.
If Las Vegas’ economy gets any worse, we’ll have to rename the city
West Detroit. We need a new business, this business. And our pitch is
clear: Celebrities, justice doesn’t have to happen to you here.