Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada

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Defense counsel’s affirmative misrepresentation regarding filing a postconviction petition and subsequent abandonment of Petitioner can be an impediment external to the defense to satisfy cause of the delay under Nev. Rev. Stat. 34.726(1)(a) for filing an untimely petition. Petitioner filed an untimely postconviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus stemming from his conviction of battery with the use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm. Petitioner stated that he had good cause for the delay in filing his petition because he believed his counsel had filed a petition on his behalf, his belief was reasonable, and he filed the petition within a reasonable time of discovering his petition had not been filed. The district court dismissed the petition as time-barred. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) to demonstrate good cause for the delay in filing an untimely petition, a petitioner must show four factors; and (2) Petitioner demonstrated good cause for his delay under this test. View "Harris v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted the petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Petitioner, the City of Las Vegas challenging an appellate court’s review of unpreserved trial error, holding that the district court, acting in its appellate capacity, considered an unpreserved claim but ignored the clear record and speculated as to facts that could demonstrate error. After the municipal court found Steven Kamide guilty of domestic battery and simple battery, Kamide appealed, alleging for the first time a violation of the witness exclusion rule, Nev. Rev. Stat. 50.155(1). The district court found that the rule had been violated and concluded that prejudice had to be presumed because the record did not clearly show the absence of prejudice. The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s reversal of Kamide’s convictions, holding that the district court arbitrarily and capriciously exercised its discretion under the plain error rule to consider an issue that was not preserved for appeal. View "City of Las Vegas v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment convicting Appellant of four counts of sexual assault, eight counts of open or gross lewdness, and one count of indecent exposure. The convictions stemmed from accusations that Appellant used his position as a certified nursing assistant to take advantage of multiple patients in his care. The court held (1) under the circumstances of this case, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in granting the State’s motion to join the offenses under the theory that they were committed pursuant to a common scheme or plan under Nev. Rev. Stat. 173.115(2); and (2) Appellant’s rights under state and federal law were not violated before trial, during trial, or at sentencing. View "Farmer v. State" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether, under the statutory definitions existing in 2012, the offense of statutory sexual seduction is a lesser-included offense of sexual assault when that offense is committed against a minor under fourteen years old. In applying the elements test, the Supreme Court determined (1) a statutory element that serves only to determine the appropriate sentence for an offense but has no bearing as to the guilt for the offense is an element of the offense for purposes of a lesser-included-offense analysis; and (2) the elements of only one of the alternative means need be included in the greater, charged offense so that the defendant is entitled to an instruction on the lesser offense. Applying the above principles to the statutes at issue, the Supreme Court held (1) statutory sexual section, as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. 200.364(5)(a), is not a lesser-included offense of sexual assault even where the victim is a minor, Neb. Rev. Stat. 200.366(1), because statutory sexual seduction contains an element not included in the greater offense; and (2) the district court did not err in refusing to give a lesser-included-offense instruction on statutory sexual seduction in this case. View "Alotaibi v. State" on Justia Law

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When the Supreme Court reverses a death sentence on direct appeal and remands for a new penalty hearing, there is no longer a final judgment that triggers the one-year period set forth in Nev. Rev. Stat. 34.726(1) for filing a postconviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Appellant was convicted of multiple counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. On direct appeal, the Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s death sentences and remanded with instructions for the district court to conduct a new penalty hearing. On remand, the jury returned death sentences for the murder convictions, and the district court entered a judgment of conviction setting forth the death sentences. On direct appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment. Within one year after remittitur issued from that decision, Appellant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus challenging his convictions and death sentences. The district court denied Appellant’s petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Appellant’s petition was timely filed; and (2) the district court did not err in denying the petition on the merits. View "Johnson v. State" on Justia Law

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Where an offender was sentenced pursuant to a statute that requires a minimum term of not less than a set number of years but does not mention parole eligibility, credits apply to eligibility for parole as provided in Nev. Rev. Stat. 209.4465(7)(b), which provides that credits earned pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 209.4465 apply to eligibility for parole unless the offender was sentenced pursuant to a statute that specifies a minimum sentence that must be served before a person becomes eligible for parole. Appellant was convicted of six counts of driving a vehicle with a prohibited substance in her blood or urine causing death. Appellant later petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that she was entitled to have credits earned pursuant to section 209.4465 apply to her eligibility for parole. The district court denied the petition, concluding that a prison must serve his or her minimum term before being eligible for parole and, therefore, the credits did not apply to Appellant’s eligibility for parole. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the matter, holding that credits that Appellant earned under section 209.4465 should be applied to her parole eligibility for any sentence she is currently serving and on which she has not appeared before the parole board. View "Williams v. State, Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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Where a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge pursuant to a plea agreement and fails to comply with the terms of that agreement, he waives his right to be protected from prosecution on a greater charge. Petitioner was charged with felony battery constituting domestic violence. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Petitioner agreed to plead guilty in justice court to one count of battery constituting domestic violence, a misdemeanor, and in district court to one count of battery constituting substantial bodily harm, a felony. Petitioner subsequently pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor battery but refused to plead guilty in the district court. Consequently, the State filed an amended information reinstating the original felony battery constituting domestic violence charge. Petitioner filed a petition for a writ of prohibition alleging that since he had already been convicted of misdemeanor battery in the justice court, double jeopardy protections barred his prosecution for felony battery constituting domestic violence in the district court. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding that Petitioner waived his right to be free from multiple prosecutions when he voluntarily failed to comply with the terms of his plea agreement with the State. View "Sweat v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to the protections of Nev. Const. art. I, 8, when a defendant requests a mistrial, jeopardy will also attach when a prosecutor intentionally proceeds in a course of egregious and improper conduct that causes the defendant prejudice that cannot be cured by means short of a mistrial. Petitioner was granted a mistrial on the basis for the late disclosure of certain documents. Petitioner later filed a renewed motion to dismiss pursuant to the Double Jeopardy Clause. The district court denied the motion, finding that the State had not intentionally withheld the documents from Petitioner. Petitioner then filed this original petition for extraordinary relief. The Supreme Court granted the petition, holding (1) the prosecutor intentionally and improperly withheld exculpatory documents, which constituted egregious conduct causing prejudice to defendant that could not be cured by means short of a mistrial; and (2) therefore, double jeopardy barred reprosecution of Petitioner on all counts. View "Thomas v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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A defendant can be convicted of aiding and abetting a negligent or reckless crime upon sufficient proof that the aider and abettor possessed the necessary intent to aid in the act that caused the harm. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for seven counts of performance of an act in reckless disregard of persons or property resulting in substantial bodily harm and seven counts of criminal negligence of patients resulting in substantial bodily harm (collectively, the endangerment crimes) but reversed Defendant’s conviction for second-degree murder. The court held (1) there was sufficient evidence to show that Defendant acted with awareness of the reckless or negligent conduct and with the intent to promote or further that conduct in the endangerment crimes for which he was convicted; but (2) there was insufficient evidence to convict Defendant of second-degree murder because there were intervening causes between Defendant’s actions and the victim’s death. View "Desai v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s judgment convicting Defendant of second-degree murder. On appeal, Defendant argued in part that the district court erred by denying his motion for a mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct and his motion for a new trial based on juror misconduct. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Defendant failed to establish any prejudicial prosecutorial misconduct; (2) Defendant’s trial counsel failed adequately to develop the record to assess whether he was prejudiced by juror misconduct; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion in declining to provide the jury with a supplemental clarifying instruction on malice aforethought. View "Jeffries v. State" on Justia Law