Articles Posted in Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court denied the State’s petition for a writ of prohibition or mandamus, holding that the district court had authority to order the State to share criminal history information obtained from databases to which the defense did not have access. Francisco Ojeda, who was charged with murder, filed a pretrial motion seeking an order compelling the State to disclose the criminal histories of veniremembers before jury selection. The district court granted the motion, grounding its authority to order disclosure in Nev. Rev. Stat. 179A.100(7)(j). Thereafter, the State filed the instant petition arguing that the district court did not have the authority to compel the disclosure of the veniremembers’ criminal history records. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding (1) a district court has the authority compel the State to disclose veniremegber criminal histories; and (2) the district court did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in requiring the State to share veniremember criminal history information. View "State v. Second Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s judgment of conviction, pursuant to a guilty plea, of battery resulting in substantial bodily harm committed against an older person, holding that the district court did not impermissibly impose double sentencing enhancements for the same primary offense. The district court sentenced Defendant to a maximum of sixty months’ imprisonment for the crime of battery resulting in substantial bodily harm under Nev. Rev. Stat. 200.481(2)(b) and an additional 120 months’ maximum imprisonment for committing that crime against an older person under Nev. Rev. Stat. 193.167. On appeal, the Supreme Court held that the addition of an older person enhancement to Defendant’s sentence under section 200.481(2)(b) did not violate Nevada law prohibiting multiple sentencing enhancements for the same primary offense because the statute is not an enhancement statute. View "Rodriguez v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court denied the State’s petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition challenging the district court’s decision finding Nev. Rev. Stat. 176A.290(2) unconstitutional and striking the unconstitutional language from the statute, holding that the statute, which grants the prosecutor veto power over a district court’s sentencing decision, violates Nevada’s separation of powers doctrine. Matthew Green Hearn pleaded guilty to battery by a prisoner. A specialty courts officer deemed Hearn eligible for the veterans court, but at sentencing, the State refused to stipulate to Hearn’s assignment to veterans court pursuant to section 176A.290(2). The district court concluded that the statute violates the separation of powers doctrine by conditioning the judicial department’s discretion to place certain offenders into a treatment program on the prosecutor’s stipulation. The Supreme Court agreed with the district court, holding (1) because section 176A.290(2) grants a prosecutor veto power over a district court’s sentencing decision, the district court correctly deemed the statute unconstitutional; and (2) the district court correctly determined that the unconstitutional language was severable. View "State v. Second Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court granting Respondent’s motion to dismiss the indictment charging him with violating Nev. Rev. Stat. 212.165(4), holding that that a person who is not a prisoner can be held vicariously liable under section 212.165(4), which prohibits prisoners in jail from possessing a cellphone or other portable telecommunications device. Respondent was an attorney who represented a number of clients in jail. Respondent was indicted on several charges brought pursuant to section 212.165(4) for possession of a cellphone by a prisoner under an aider and abettor theory. Respondent moved to dismiss the charges against her, contending that she could not be charged with or convicted of violating the statute because it only criminalizes conduct by jail prisoners. The district court granted the motion, concluding that only a prisoner can be sentenced under section 212.165(4). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a person can be criminally liable as an aider or abettor under section 212.165(4). View "State v. Plunkett" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s judgment of conviction and remanded this case for further proceedings, holding that the district court erred by denying Defendant’s Batson challenge and by categorically excluding evidence to show that the two young victims had the knowledge to contrive sexual allegations without having experienced the sexual acts with Defendant. Defendant was convicted of lewdness and sexual assault with a minor under the age of fourteen for sexual misconduct involving his girlfriend’s two daughters. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court clearly erred in denying his Batson challenge to the State’s use of a peremptory strike to remove an African-American woman from the venire and in excluding evidence that the two young girls had the ability to contrive sexual allegations. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed and remanded for a new trial, holding that the district court (1) clearly erred in denying Defendant’s Batson challenge; and (2) erred by not conducting an evidentiary hearing before denying Defendant’s motion to admit the evidence regarding the young victims’ sexual knowledge. View "Williams v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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