Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and vacated and reversed in part Defendant’s convictions of child abuse and neglect, twenty-nine counts of use of a child in the production of pornography, ten counts of possession of visual presentation depicting the sexual conduct of a child, and open or gross lewdness. The court held (1) the State properly charged Defendant with two counts of violating Nev. Rev. Stat. 200.710(2) for each video file that depicted two minors; (2) Defendant was improperly convicted under section 200.730 on a per-image basis without showing the mechanics of how Defendant recorded and saved the various video files and digital images of children on his laptop; (3) Nevada’s statutes barring the “sexual portrayal” of minors do not implicate protected speech and are not unconstitutionally vague; (4) there was insufficient evidence to support Defendant’s conviction under Nev. Rev. Stat. 201.210; and (5) Defendant’s asserted trial errors did not warrant reversal. View "Shue v. State" on Justia Law

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Nevada’s medical marijuana registry does not violate the Due Process, Equal Protection, or Self-Incrimination Clauses of the United States or Nevada Constitutions. Appellant in this case applied for and received a registry identification card. Thereafter, Appellant filed suit against the Nevada Legislature, the Governor, and the Department of Health and Human Services (collectively, Respondents) arguing that the medical marijuana registry and its associated fees violated his due process and equal protection rights and his right against self-incrimination. The district court granted summary judgment for Respondents. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Nevada’s medical marijuana registry does not impinge upon a fundamental right; (2) the registry is rationally related to the legitimate state interest of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public; and (3) the registry does not violate a registrant’s right against self-incrimination. View "Doe v. State ex rel. Legislature of 77th Session" 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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The Supreme Court accepted two questions of law certified to it by the United States Court of Appeals, answering (1) a hyperlink to source material about a judicial proceeding may suffice as a report within the common law fair report privilege; and (2) Delucchi v. Singer, 396 P.3d 826, 830 (Nev. 2017), explains that application of Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute, prior to the most recent amendments in 2013, is not limited to communication addressed to a government agency but includes speech “aimed at procuring any governmental or electoral action.” Plaintiff in this case filed a defamation action against Respondents, who posted an online petition to pressure presidential candidate Mitt Romney to reject Appellant’s campaign contributions, alleging that the petition was false and defamatory. The federal district court concluded that Nevada law governed the controversy and dismissed Appellant’s complaint, ruling that the state’s anti-SLAPP statutes applied. On appeal, the court of appeals certified two questions of law to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court answered the questions and held (1) the fair report privilege immunizes Respondents from civil liability; and (2) communications with either the government or the public that are intended to influence an electoral result potentially fall under Nev. Rev. Stat. 41.637(1). View "Adelson v. Harris" 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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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s dismissal of the claims of Appellant, a Nevada inmate who follows the Thelemic faith. After the State denied his request for a religious diet, Appellant filed suit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In dismissing Appellant’s claims, the district court concluded as a matter of law that a religious diet is not central to the Thelemic faith. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, holding (1) the district court erroneously used the centrality test rather than the sincerely held belief test in its analysis of Paliotta’s Free Exercise and RLUIPA claims; and (2) Appellant made a prima facie showing that his sincere religious beliefs may be entitled to protection under the Free Exercise Clause and RLUIPA. View "Paliotta v. State Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The district court did not violate Appellant’s due process or equal protection rights when the Storey County Liquor Board denied Appellant’s applications for liquor licenses. Appellant filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the district court, requesting that the court compel Respondents to approve the applications. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Storey County Code 5.12.010(A), which requires an applicant for a liquor license to provide the board with proof of financial standing “to warrant an expected satisfactory and profitable business operation” is not unconstitutionally vague; and (2) the Liquor Board did not violate Appellant’s due process or equal protection rights in denying his liquor license applications. View "Malfitano v. County of Storey" on Justia Law

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Under the circumstances of this case, where the evidence indicated both juror misconduct during voir dire and resulting prejudice, the district court abused its discretion in denying Defendant’s motion for a new trial. After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of two counts of lewdness with a minor. Defendant filed a motion for new trial on the basis of juror misconduct. The district court denied the motion, concluding that Defendant had failed to demonstrate prejudice arising from the alleged misconduct of the juror at issue. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the evidence indicated that the juror failed honestly to answer a material question during voir dire, and truthful disclosure could have provided a valid basis for a challenge for cause; and (2) therefore, the district court erred in denying Appellant’s motion for a new trial on the basis of juror misconduct. View "Brioady v. State" on Justia Law

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Based on the plain language of Nev. Rev. Stat. 612.530(1), the requirement that all relevant parties be named as defendants must be completed as timely as the rest of the petition. The Board of Review and the Administrator of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Employment Security Division (ESD) awarded unemployment compensation benefits to Jessica Gerry, a former employee of McDonald’s of Keystone. McDonald’s filed a petition for judicial review of the Board’s decision. The ESD moved to dismiss the petition for judicial review on the ground that the caption failed to identify Gerry as a defendant, rendering the petition defective under Nev. Rev. Stat. 612.530(1). The district court denied the ESD’s motion to dismiss and granted McDonald’s motion to amend, concluding that the naming of all relevant parties as defendants was not a jurisdictional requirement. The Supreme Court granted the ESD’s petition for extraordinary relief, holding that McDonald’s failure to follow the statutory requirements of section 612.530(1) deprived the district court of jurisdiction to hear its petition for judicial review. View "Board of Review v. Second Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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Appellant filed a class action lawsuit against Respondent, a taxi company, seeking back pay and equitable relief under the Minimum Wage Amendment of the Nevada Constitution (MWA). The district court denied class certification based on an agreement that resolved an earlier-filed grievance for wage adjustments under the MWA brought by the union that represented Respondent’s cab drivers. The district court subsequently granted Respondent’s motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court (1) did not abuse its discretion in holding that the settlement of the union’s grievance against Henderson Taxi made class certification inappropriate; and (2) properly granted summary judgment to Respondent. View "Sargeant v. Henderson Taxi" on Justia Law