Articles Posted in Civil Rights

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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

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After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of one count of trafficking in a controlled substance. During a break in deliberations, two jurors individually conducted experiments testing the parties’ theories of the case. The next morning, the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict. Defendant filed a motion to declare a mistrial and order a new trial due to juror misconduct. The district court denied the motion, concluding that there was no reasonable probability that the verdict was affected by the two jurors’ independent experiments. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court erred in denying Appellant’s motion for a new trial because (1) the juror misconduct in this case was prejudicial, and (2) the trial court’s failure to give a jury instruction prohibiting jurors from conducting independent investigations or experiments constituted a reversible error. Remanded. View "Bowman v. State" on Justia Law

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Father and Mother divorced in 2011. In 2013, the district court ordered Father to pay additional child support for failing to previously pay child support. In 2014, Mother filed a motion to modify custody and enforce the 2013 order. After a hearing, at which Father represented himself, the district court awarded Mother primary physical custody of the child. The district court then held Father in contempt of court for failing to pay child support. The court sentenced Father to a total of eighty days in jail and stayed the contempt sentence on the condition that Father “follow the Orders of the Court.” The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) a contempt order that does not contain a purge clause is criminal in nature, and because the district court’s contempt order did not contain a purge clause, the district court violated Appellant’s constitutional rights by imposing a criminal sentence without providing Appellant with counsel; and (2) the district court abused its discretion by basing its decision to modify custody on Appellant’s failure to comply with a court order and by failing to consider and set forth its findings as to the Nev. Rev. Stat. 125.480(4) factors for determining the child’s best interest. View "Lewis v. Lewis" on Justia Law

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Appellant was charged with felony eluding a police officer and misdemeanor reckless driving based on the same incident. Appellant pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless driving and then moved to dismiss the felony eluding a police officer charge on the basis of double jeopardy. The district court denied the motion to dismiss, concluding that misdemeanor reckless driving did not constitute a lesser included offense of felony eluding. Appellant subsequently pleaded guilty to felony eluding. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the offense of reckless driving is a lesser included offense of felony eluding as charged in this case, and therefore, Appellant’s conviction for felony eluding a police officer violated double jeopardy. View "Kelley v. State" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of burglary while in possession of a firearm, conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, and murder with the use of a deadly weapon. Defendant appealed, arguing that the State’s warrantless access of historical cell site location data obtained from his cell phone service provider pursuant to the Stored Communications Act violated his Fourth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a defendant does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in historical cell site location information data because it is a part of the business records made, kept, and owned by cell phone providers, and therefore, a search warrant is not required to obtain such historical cell site location information; (2) certain out-of-court and in-court identifications did not violate Defendant’s constitutional right to due process of law; (3) prosecutorial conduct and statements during closing arguments did not violate Defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial or Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination; and (4) there was sufficient evidence to support the convictions. View "Taylor v. State" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of murder with the use of a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit murder. The district court sentenced Defendant to life with the possibility of parole for the first-degree murder conviction. Defendant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the district court erred when it admitted Defendant’s inculpatory statements to detectives because he was not advised of his Miranda rights and was subject to an alleged custodial interrogation. The State, in response, claimed that Defendant spoke voluntarily with the police and, therefore, Miranda warnings were unnecessary. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court erred in denying Defendant’s motion to suppress because the police subjected him to a custodial interrogation without advising him of his Miranda rights, but the error was harmless; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting recordings taken by Defendant, who wore a wire and spoke with others involved in the murder to corroborate his story; and (3) the State presented sufficient evidence to convicted Defendant of conspiracy and murder. View "Carroll v. State" on Justia Law

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The Washoe County Department of Social Services filed a petition to terminate Father’s parental rights as to his three minor children. Father filed a demand for a jury trial. The district court denied Father’s demand, concluding that the right to a jury trial in a parental termination proceeding is not guaranteed by the Nevada Constitution, common law, or statute. After a bench trial, the district court terminated Father’s parental rights to his three minor children. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in denying Father’s demand for a jury trial in the termination of parental rights proceeding, as neither the Nevada Constitution nor the United States Constitution guarantees a jury trial in a termination of parental rights proceeding; and (2) substantial evidence supported the district court’s decision to terminate Father’s parental rights to the three minor children. View "Jesus F. v. Washoe County Dep’t of Soc. Servs." on Justia Law