Nevada Supreme Court oral arguments May 4-7

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48291 Rodriguez (Pedro) vs. State (Death Penalty-Pc)
May 04 (9:30 AM)
Carson City

Full Court

Rodriguez was originally convicted in Washoe County of first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon and robbery with the use of a deadly weapon. In an earlier appeal of his conviction, this court invalidated one aggravating circumstance (home invasion) but upheld Rodriguez's death sentence after reweighing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Rodriguez thereafter filed a post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the district court, the denial of which is the subject of this appeal. ISSUES: Should Rodriguez's death sentence be reversed based on claims that (1) the aggravating circumstances are invalid, (2) the assistance of trial or appellate counsel was ineffective, and (3) jury instructions were improper?

49350 State, Dep't Of Motor Vehicles vs. Junge
May 04 (10:30 AM) -

Carson City

Full Court

After respondent Junge obtained and renewed for several years a personalized license plate "HOE" (shorthand for "Tahoe" according to Junge) the DMV recalled the license plate because DMV's Special Plate Committee determined, after consulting the Urban Dictionary, that the plate carried a meaning that was inappropriate and offensive. An administrative law judge upheld DMV's decision, and Junge petitioned for judicial review. The district court reversed the administrative law judge's decision, and DMV has appealed that decision. The ACLU has filed an amicus brief opposing DMV's position. ISSUE: Do DMV regulations regarding personalized plates violate the First Amendment?

50218 Wyman (Catherine) vs. State
May 04 (12:30 PM)

Carson City

Full Court

This is an appeal of a Washoe County jury verdict convicting Wyman of second-degree murder. Wyman made a request in the district court for a certificate of materiality to obtain evidence from outside of Nevada (specifically, from California) regarding the mental health history of the State's key witness, Wyman's adult daughter. The district court denied the request. ISSUE: Did the district court err in denying Wyman's request for a certificate of materiality with respect to the out-of-state documentary evidence?

50298 Bower vs. Harrah's Laughlin C/W 49783
May 04 (1:00 PM)

Carson City

Full Court

These consolidated appeals arise from a fight and shooting between two biker gangs that occurred at Harrah's Laughlin. Appellants allege they were not part of the fight but were injured as a result of the fight. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Harrah's based on the issues arising from the fight and shooting having been resolved in two prior court cases over the same incident. Appellants were not parties to the prior court cases, but discovery for their cases was consolidated with those two cases. ISSUES: Did the district court err in granting summary judgment in favor of Harrah's? Did the district court err in awarding attorney fees and costs to Harrah's?

52055 In Re: Parental Rights As To Germany
May 04 (2:30 PM)

Carson City

Full Court

In connection with an adoption plan, a biological mother, who is a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribe, relinquished her parental rights to the child at issue in this matter. Later, the adoption agency petitioned to terminate the parental rights of any putative father. The Cherokee Nation Tribe moved to intervene to invalidate and dismiss the proceedings, arguing that the case should be transferred to the tribal court because the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction and the mother did not have standing to object to the transfer. The district court's denial of that motion is the subject of this appeal. ISSUE: Did the district court have subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to the Indian Child Welfare Act, to relinquish the parental rights of any putative father?

 

49602 Fierle vs. Perez
May 05 (9:00 AM)

Carson City

Full Court

After Fierle suffered chemical burns from a chemotherapy treatment, she and her husband brought a medical tort action. The district court dismissed the complaint based on the couple's failure to submit a medical expert's affidavit along with the complaint, which is required by NRS 41A.071. The district court also denied the couple's motion for relief from the judgment. ISSUE: Did the district court err in dismissing the complaint and in denying the motion for relief from judgment?

50457 Middleton (David) vs. State (Death Penalty-Pc)
May 05 (9:30 AM)

Middleton was previously convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count of grand larceny, one count of fraudulent use of a credit card, and two counts of ex-felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to death. In an appeal of his judgment of conviction, Middleton's judgment and sentence were upheld. Middleton filed a post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Washoe County district court, the denial of which is the subject of this appeal. ISSUES: Did the district court err in dismissing several claims in the petition without conducting an evidentiary hearing? Were trial and appellate counsel ineffective? Is reversal of Middleton's death sentence required by McConnell v. State?


50859 Bielar vs. Washoe Health Systems, Inc.

May 05 (10:30 AM)

Carson City

Full Court

Bielar, who did not have health insurance or qualify for public assistance, was in an automobile accident. Bielar ultimately received a $1.3 million settlement from an insurance company. While the hospital placed a lien on the settlement, the insurer paid Bielar directly. Bielar paid the hospital in full but filed a suit in district court asserting that she was entitled to a 30 percent reduction in her bills pursuant to NRS 439B.260, which provides for the reduction of hospital bills under certain circumstances, including when the patient does not have health insurance or qualify for public assistance. The hospital moved for summary judgment on the basis that Bielar lacked standing to pursue the claim for reduction in the bill and the district court granted the hospital's motion. ISSUE: Did the district court err in finding that Bielar lacked standing and granting summary judgment to the hospital?


50065 KING (DAVID) vs. STATE
May 07 (9:00 AM)

Elko High School
Justices Cherry, Saitta, and Gibbons

This is an appeal from an Elko County district court order denying a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence. King was convicted of first-degree murder by means of child abuse for the death of his infant son. The motion for a new trial was based on evidence that surfaced after trial indicating the infant victim may have vomited near the time of his death, leading a forensic expert to suggest that a cause of death could not be determined and that the victim could have died of natural causes.


51971 Ortega (Jose) vs. State
May 07 (9:30 AM)

Elko High School
Justices Cherry, Saitta, and Gibbons

This is an appeal of Ortega's conviction in Elko County of principal to trafficking in a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and possession of a controlled substance (cocaine). Ortega is also appealing an Elko County district court order denying a motion for new trial. Ortega was arrested after being stopped by a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper and warned to slow down and dim his headlights. During the stop, Ortega consented to a search of his vehicle where the NHP trooper discovered cocaine. After arresting the occupants of the car, the NHP trooper opened an airbag compartment with a screwdriver and discovered the methamphetamine. ISSUES: Did the use of a screwdriver to open the airbag compartment exceed the scope of the consent to search given by Ortega? Should Ortega have been convicted of being a principal to trafficking despite the jurors' belief that he did not know what drug was involved?


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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on May 1, 2009 9:06 AM.

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