Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada

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The district court erred in invalidating a search warrant for an evidentiary blood draw and suppressing the blood draw evidence because there was probable cause to support the search warrant. After failing a preliminary breath test (PBT) Respondent was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The results of the PBT were used to obtain a search warrant for an evidentiary blood draw. The district court suppressed the PBT results, determining that they were obtained in violation of Defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights. The court then suppressed the evidentiary blood draw, concluding that it was the fruit of an illegal search. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court did not err in finding that the PBT results were obtained in violation of Defendant’s constitutional rights; but (2) there was probable cause to support the search warrant even without the PBT evidence, and therefore, the district court erroneously invalidated the search warrant and suppressed the subsequent blood draw evidence. View "State v. Sample" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of one count each of conspiracy to commit robbery and burglary while in possession of a deadly weapon and two counts each of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon and murder with the use of a deadly weapon. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court violated right to a public trial by closing the courtroom to members of the public during jury selection without making sufficient findings to warrant the closure. The Supreme Court held that, under Presley v. Georgia, 558 U.S. 209 (2010), this violation constituted structural error, but because Defendant did not preserve the error for appellate review, under Nevada law, Defendant must demonstrate plain error that affected his substantial rights. Following the United States Supreme Court’s guidance in Weaver v. Massachusetts, 582 U.S. __ (2017), the Supreme Court held that Defendant failed to satisfy plain error review. Further, Defendant was not entitled to relief on his other claims, and Defendant’s death sentences were supported by review of the record under Nev. Rev. Stat. 177.055(2). View "Jeremias v. State" on Justia Law

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Defendant in this case had “an adequate opportunity” (see Chavez v. State, 213 P.3d 476, 482 (Nev. 2009)) to cross-examine a witness when, immediately after the State’s direct examination at the preliminary hearing, Defendant waived his right to continue the preliminary hearing. Jeffrey Baker was charged with sexually motivated coercion and eight counts of lewdness with a child under the age of fourteen. At the preliminary hearing, C.J. testified regarding two instances in which Baker attempted to engage her in sexual activity. When C.J. finished testifying, Defendant waived his right to continue the preliminary hearing and plead guilty to one count of attempted lewdness with a minor. The court rejected Baker’s plea. C.J. subsequently committed suicide. The State moved to admit at trial the transcript of C.J.’s testimony at the preliminary hearing. The district court denied the motion on the grounds that Baker did not have an adequate opportunity cross-examine C.J. at the preliminary hearing. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the Confrontation Clause guarantees an opportunity to cross-examine and does not give defendants a sword to strike adverse testimony that the defendant chose not to contest. View "State v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The district court’s preliminary injunction order enjoining media outlets from reporting on a redacted, anonymized autopsy report that they and other members of the media obtained through a Nevada Public Records Act request did not comport with the First Amendment. A district judge ruled that the autopsy reports of the victims of the October 1, 2017 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival constituted public records subject to inspection and release but directed the Clark County Coroner to redact the victims’ names and personal identifying information. After the Coroner publicly released the redacted autopsy reports, the wife and the estate of one of the victims (collectively, the Hartfield parties) filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The district judge granted the motion for a preliminary injunction and barred the Las Vegas Review Journal and the Associated Press from sharing the redacted autopsy report of the victim. The Supreme Court granted writ relief to the Review Journal, holding that the Hartfield parties failed to demonstrate a serious and imminent threat to a protected competing interest that would warrant the prior restraint imposed in this case. View "Las Vegas Review-Journal v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The district court’s preliminary injunction order enjoining media outlets from reporting on a redacted, anonymized autopsy report that they and other members of the media obtained through a Nevada Public Records Act request did not comport with the First Amendment. A district judge ruled that the autopsy reports of the victims of the October 1, 2017 shooting at the Route 91 Harvest music festival constituted public records subject to inspection and release but directed the Clark County Coroner to redact the victims’ names and personal identifying information. After the Coroner publicly released the redacted autopsy reports, the wife and the estate of one of the victims (collectively, the Hartfield parties) filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The district judge granted the motion for a preliminary injunction and barred the Las Vegas Review Journal and the Associated Press from sharing the redacted autopsy report of the victim. The Supreme Court granted writ relief to the Review Journal, holding that the Hartfield parties failed to demonstrate a serious and imminent threat to a protected competing interest that would warrant the prior restraint imposed in this case. View "Las Vegas Review-Journal v. Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's postconviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The court held that the filing of a bar complaint does not create a per se conflict of interest that rises to the level of a violation of the Sixth Amendment, and defendant did not assert that the filing of the bar complaint adversely affected his counsel's behavior or caused his counsel to defend him less diligently, and thus he did not present a conflict-of-interest claim that would entitle him to relief. Therefore, the district court did not err by denying defendant's claim without conducting an evidentiary hearing. View "Jefferson v. Nevada" on Justia Law

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Due process required junior water rights holders in Diamond Valley be given notice and an opportunity to be heard in proceedings by the district court considering the curtailment of water rights. In this case, a vested, senior water rights holder has asked the district court to order the State Engineer to curtail junior water rights in the Diamond Valley Hydrographic Basin. The Nevada Supreme Court held that the district court's consideration of the matter at the upcoming show cause hearing could potentially result in the initiation of curtailment proceedings. Therefore, junior water rights holders could possibly be deprived of their property rights and were entitled to due process. View "Eureka County v. The Seventh Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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The Nevada Supreme Court granted a writ of mandamus instructing the district court to vacate its order denying petitioner's motion for expert services at public expense and to reconsider the motion. In Widdis v. Second Judicial District Court, 114 Nev. 1224, 968 P.2d 1165 (1998), the court held that, notwithstanding the ability to retain counsel, a defendant is entitled to reasonable and necessary defense services at public expense if the defendant demonstrates both indigency and a need for the requested services. In this case, the court clarified the definition of an indigent person as well as the demonstration of need sufficient for a request for defense services. The court made clear that Widdis does not require an indigent defendant to request a sum certain before a motion for defense services at public expense can be considered or granted. View "Brown v. The Eighth Judicial District Court" on Justia Law

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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