Articles Posted in Nevada Supreme Court

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After Appellant was arrested for child abuse his daughter was placed in the custody of Washoe County Social Services (Social Services). The family court ordered Appellant to pay child support to Social Services. After Appellant pleaded guilty to one felony count of child abuse, Social Services sought restitution. Appellant objected to the amount sought by Social Services on the grounds that the family court had already entered a cost-of-care order. The district court ordered Appellant to pay restitution to Social Services, concluding that the family court’s order, which was based on Appellant’s ability to pay, did not affect the jurisdiction of the district court as to its criminal restitution order. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court has jurisdiction to impose restitution to the State for the cost of child care in child abuse cases where the family court has already imposed an obligation on the defendant for the costs of supporting the child, but the district court must offset the restitution amount by the amount of the support obligation imposed by the family court. View "Major v. State" on Justia Law

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Appellant, an inmate, filed a timely post-conviction petition for writ of habeas corpus, which the district court denied on the merits. Appellant later filed a second post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. Appellant’s petition was untimely and successive, but Appellant argued he had good cause to excuse the procedural bars because his first post-conviction counsel had provided ineffective assistance by failing to present these claims in his first post-conviction petition. At issue in this case was whether, in light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Martinez v. Ryan, the ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel may constitute good cause under Nev. Rev. Stat. 34.726(1) and Nev. Rev. Stat. 34.810 to allow a noncapital petitioner to file an untimely and successive post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The district court dismissed Appellant’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Martinez does not alter the Court’s prior decisions that a petitioner has no constitutional right to post-conviction counsel and that post-conviction counsel’s performance does not constitute good cause to excuse the statutory procedural bars unless the appointment of that counsel was mandated by statute. View "Brown v. McDaniel" on Justia Law

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The question presented in this case was whether a person can burglarize his or her own home. Plaintiff was charged with burglary while in possession of a firearm and murder with the use of a deadly weapon for entering the home he owned and previously shared with his estranged wife and fatally shooting his wife. The district court ultimately dismissed the burglary charge, finding that one cannot legally burglarize his or her own home where there is no legal impediment or restraining order of some sort otherwise limiting the ability of the owner to access his or her own property. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a person cannot commit burglary of a home when he or she has an absolute right to enter the home. View "State v. White" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Petitioner was convicted on several charges, including burglary, grand larceny, and obtaining property under false pretenses. After his appeal, Petitioner filed a post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus challenging his judgment of conviction and sentence. Based on motions filed by Petitioner, including a motion for the appointment of post-conviction counsel, the district court entered an order designating Petitioner as a vexatious litigant and restricting his ability to file further documents in the district court. Petitioner sought a writ of mandamus directing the district court to vacate its order. The Supreme Court granted the petition, concluding that the district court acted arbitrarily and capriciously in designating Petitioner a vexatious litigant and entering the restrictive order. View "Jones v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Appellant was found guilty of one count of first-degree murder, based on both premeditated and felony murder, and two counts of sexual assault. On appeal, Appellant argued that the district court committed clear error by overruling his Batson objection and allowing the State to exercise peremptory challenges against several minority prospective jurors because the State’s explanations for striking the venirepersons were pretext for racial discrimination. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court clearly erred by allowing the State to exercise a peremptory challenge to dismiss an African-American prospective juror, as it was more likely than not that the State struck the prospective juror because of race. View "Conner v. State" on Justia Law

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Appellant pleaded guilty to several felony offenses. Seven months after the judgment of conviction was entered, Appellant filed a motion to withdraw the guilty plea. The district court denied the motion on the merits. At issue before the Supreme Court was whether a defendant can file motion to withdraw a guilty plea to challenge a conviction or sentence after sentence has been opposed. The Court reversed and remanded for the district court to treat Appellant’s motion as a post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding (1) after sentence has been imposed, the statutory post-conviction habeas petition takes the place of a motion to withdraw a guilty plea; and (2) because Hart v. State holds otherwise, it is overruled. View "Harris v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to multiple counts relating to fraudulent use of a credit card. Before sentencing, Petitioners (collectively, the surety) posted a bond for Defendant’s release. Defendant subsequently traveled to Mexico but was denied admission when he tried to return to the United States. Defendant missed his sentencing, and the district court sent a notice of intent to forfeit bond to the surety. The surety filed a motion to exonerate the bond, but the district court denied the motion. The surety then filed a petition for extraordinary relief from the district court’s order. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding (1) Defendant was excluded, not deported, and therefore, Nev. Rev. Stat. 178.509 did not allow the district court to exonerate the surety’s bail bond; and (2) the surety was not entitled to exoneration based on common law contract defenses because there was no statutory ground for exoneration. View "All Star Bail Bonds, Inc. v. Dist. Court" on Justia Law

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Appellant pleaded guilty to robbery. At sentencing, Appellant requested that the district court amend his presentence investigation report (PSI) to exclude information that he alleged was unsupported. After a hearing, the district court found that a portion of the PSI contained unsupported information. The court proceeded to amend Appellant’s PSI in the judgment of conviction rather than amending the PSI itself. Appellant appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed Appellant’s judgment of conviction, holding that the district court has the discretion to amend the PSI itself or to amend it in the judgment of conviction. View "Sasser v. State" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to a plea agreement, Appellant pleaded guilty to murder, conspiracy to commit robbery, and conspiracy to commit first-degree kidnapping. Before he was sentenced, Appellant filed an objection to his Presentence Investigation Report (PSI), arguing that it contained inaccurate information regarding his gang involvement. The district court denied Appellant’s request for an evidentiary hearing in order to ensure that his sentence was based on accurate information. The court then sentenced Appellant to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after twenty years for the murder conviction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly determined that police department incident reports provided a factual basis for the gang information included in the PSI. View "Gomez v. State" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of conspiracy, kidnapping, and murder charges. Defendant appealed, arguing that the district court committed reversible error during the jury selection phase of trial. After the parties completed briefing on the matter, Defendant died. The district court appointed Defendant’s mother ("Mother") as his personal representative, and she substituted in as a party to the appeal. After the substitution, Mother filed a motion to abate Defendant’s judgment of conviction due to his death. The Supreme Court held (1) a criminal defendant is not entitled to have his judgment of conviction vacated and the prosecution abated when he dies while his appeal from the judgment is pending, but a personal representative may be substituted as the appellant and continue the appeal when justice so requires; and (2) in this case, Mother was entitled to continue Defendant’s appeal, and because of an error during jury selection, Defendant's conviction must be reversed. View "Brass v. State" on Justia Law