Nevada Supreme Court issues opinion

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McConnell v. State - the Court, sitting en banc, issues a per curiam decision affirming an order of the district court dismissing McConnell's post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus in a capital case.  The Court concludes, in addressing an issue of first impression in Nevada, that challenges to Nevada's lethal injection procedures are not properly raised in a state court habeas petition.  The Court also finds that McConnell's guilty plea was knowingly and voluntarily entered and he did not have a right to effective assistance of stand-by counsel.  The Court next find that appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to challenge a penalty phase instruction on the ground that it did not specify that the aggravating factors had to outweigh the mitigating factors beyond a reasonable doubt before it could impose death.  The Court next finds that appellate counsel was not ineffective for failing to challenge the Court's mandatory review of death sentences on the ground that there are no standards for the review; for failing to argue that it was prejudicial to have his trial and appeal reviewed by elected judges; for failing to challenge the death qualification process for jurors; and for failing to adequately address the aggravating circumstances issue presented in McConnell I (felony murder aggravators cannot be used if felony murder is the basis for the judgment).

The good news is that the Court rejects the State's argument that McConnell I was wrongly decided and should be overturned.  (Footnote 15).



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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on July 23, 2009 9:10 AM.

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Report exams life sentences in America: lots of Nevada info. is the next entry in this blog.

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