Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition for writ of certiorari, holding that Nev. Rev. Stat. 177.015(1)(a) authorizes the State to file an appeal to the district court form a justice court decision dismissing a criminal complaint that charged felony and/or gross misdemeanor offenses. The State filed a criminal complaint against Petitioner charging felony and gross misdemeanor offenses. The justice court subsequently dismissed the complaint. The State then filed an appeal to the district court from the criminal complaint’s dismissal. Petitioner moved to dismiss the appeal, arguing that the district court lacked jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion and determined that the justice court erred in dismissing the complaint. Petitioner then filed this original petition challenging the district court’s jurisdiction over the State’s appeal. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding that the district court did not exceed its jurisdiction in entertaining the State’s appeal. View "Warren v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for larceny from the person stemming from his act of stealing a cell phone from a woman sitting next to him at a bus stop, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction even where the woman voluntarily handed Defendant her phone. On appeal, Defendant argued that he did not take the phone “from the person of another, without [her] consent,” and therefore, the State failed to prove its case. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the conviction where the State provided evidence that Defendant asked to borrow the woman’s cell phone with the ulterior motive of stealing it, that when the woman extended her arm to hand Defendant her phone, Defendant grabbed it from her, and that after the woman stood to follow Defendant, and he ran. View "Ibarra v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction under Nev. Rev. Stat. 205.067 of home invasion, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in instructing the jury and that the sentence was constitutional. Defendant’s was convicted of home invasion for entering his wife’s second home. The district court sentenced him to a maximum term of ninety-six months in prison. On appeal, Defendant argued, among other things, that the district court abused its discretion in refusing his proposed jury instruction defining the word “resides” as used in the definition of “inhabited dwelling” in Nevada’s home invasion statute, Nev. Rev. Stat. 205.067(5)(b) as requiring the “owner or other lawful occupant” to dwell permanently or continuously. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) an owner need not permanently or continuously dwell in a house for the house to be an inhabited dwelling; and (2) Defendant’s sentence did not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. View "Dunham v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court held that law enforcement officers cannot justify a warrantless search of a bedroom inside a home by relying on the consent of a third party when the third party did not have authority to consent and the officers have little to no information about that third party’s authority over the bedroom. At issue in this appeal was whether law enforcement officers cannot rely on the consent of a third party to search a room within a residence without making sufficient inquiries about the parties’ living arrangements within that residence before conducting a warrantless search. The Supreme Court answered in the negative, holding that the district court erred in denying part Defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence obtained as a result of the illegal entry in this case and that the error was not harmless. The Court further directed law enforcement to gather sufficient information about the living arrangements inside the home to establish an objectively reasonable belief that the third party has authority to consent to a search before proceeding with that search without a warrant. View "Lastine v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court to deny Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence discovered during a search of his bedroom after Defendant’s mother opened his locked bedroom door while a law enforcement officer stood nearby, holding that the mother’s decision to open Defendant’s locked bedroom door was private conduct to which the Fourth Amendment’s protections were inapplicable. In the presence of a sheriff’s deputy but without the deputy’s request that she open the door or suggestion that he wanted to see inside the bedroom, Defendant’s mother opened Defendant’s locked bedroom door. The deputy saw firearms and bomb-making materials inside the room once the door was open. The district court denied Defendant’s motion to suppress. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendant’s mother’s actions were insufficiently connected or related to governmental action to implicate the protections of the Fourth Amendment. View "Mooney v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s conviction of child abuse, neglect or endangerment with substantial harm, holding that the district court abused its discretion in excluding Defendant’s expert witness and in rejecting his proffered jury instruction, and Defendant was denied a fair trial because these errors were not harmless. Defendant’s conviction stemmed from an incident involving a two-year-old, who incurred burns on his hands while Defendant was babysitting him and his sibling. As a defense, Defendant maintained that the burns happened accidentally. Defendant attempted to have a biomechanics expert testify to rebut the State’s theory that Defendant intentionally burned the child and to testify about the mechanism of the child’s injuries. The district court excluded Defendant’s expert witness and rejected his proffered jury instruction on his theory of the case. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court improperly disqualified Defendant’s expert under Nev. Rev. Stat. 50.275 and abused its discretion in rejecting Defendant’s proffered jury instruction, and the errors were not harmless. View "Mathews v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In clarifying the definition of statutory nonhearsay pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. 51.035, the Supreme Court held that in order for a statement to be excluded from the definition of hearsay either as a prior inconsistent statement or a prior identification made soon after perceiving a person, the declarant must have testified and have been subject to cross-examination concerning the out-of-court statement. After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to commit robbery and other crimes. On appeal, Defendant argued that certain hearsay statements and two of his statements to police were improperly admitted. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions, holding (1) the challenged statements were not properly admitted either as prior inconsistent statements or as prior identifications pursuant to section 51.035, but such errors were harmless in light of other evidence in the case; and (2) substantial evidence supported the district court’s determination that the two statements Defendant made to police were voluntary. View "Richard v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the district court’s denial of Appellant’s second postconviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus in a death penalty case, holding that an evidentiary hearing was required as to Appellant’s judicial bias claim. Appellant’s petition challenging his conviction for two first-degree murders and death sentences was both untimely and successive. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s denial of the petition as procedurally barred, concluding that Appellant did not show good cause and prejudice to excuse the procedural bars to his petition. The United States Supreme Court vacated the Supreme Court’s opinion and remanded for further proceedings, concluding that the Court applied the wrong legal standard as to Appellant’s judicial bias claim. On reconsideration of the judicial bias claim, the Supreme Court held that an evidentiary hearing was required with respect to several issues related to the claim. The Court remanded for an evidentiary hearing on the judicial bias claim and affirmed the remainder of the district court’s order. View "Rippo v. State" on Justia Law

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At issue in this criminal case was whether the defense must place intent or absence of mistake at issue before prior act evidence may be admitted under Nev. Rev. Stat. 48.045(2). Defendant was convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary, robbery with use of a deadly weapon, and other crimes. During trial, the court admitted evidence concerning Defendant’s prior residential burglary conviction to prove intent and absence of mistake. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of conviction, holding (1) the defense need not place intent or absence of mistake at issue before the State may seek admission of prior act evidence if the evidence is relevant to prove an element of the offense; but (2) because the evidence of Defendant’s prior residential burglary conviction had little relevance or probative value as to his intent or absence of mistake when compared to the danger of unfair prejudice resulting from its propensity inference, the district court manifestly abused its discretion in admitting the evidence, and the error was not harmless. View "Hubbard v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court held that double jeopardy did not prohibit Defendant’s retrial under the circumstances of this case because Defendant impliedly consented to the district court’s declaration of a mistrial, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding manifest necessity to declare a mistrial. Defendant stood trial on charges of murder and battery with substantial bodily harm. The district court declared a mistrial after a juror conducted extrinsic legal research and shared that information with other jurors after a weekend recess in jury deliberations. The district court dismissed Defendant’s motion to dismiss the charges based on double jeopardy and set the matter for a new trial. Defendant petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus directing the district court to grant his motion to dismiss and bar his re-prosecution. The Supreme Court denied the petition on the merits, holding that a second prosecution was not barred by double jeopardy where Defendant did not object to the mistrial, Defendant agreed with the court’s analysis of juror misconduct, Defendant gave his implied consent to mistrial, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding manifest necessity to declare a mistrial. View "Granda-Ruiz v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law