Oral arguments today - 3/1 - at the Nevada Supreme Court

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Vanisi (Siaosi) v. State of Nevada (Death Penalty),

Docket No. 50607

Carson City - 10:00 a.m. - Full court

This is Siaosi Vanisi's appeal from a district court order denying his post-conviction petition for a writ of habeas corpus in a death penalty case.  Vanisi was convicted by a Washoe County jury of first-degree murder, robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, two counts of robbery with a firearm, and grand larceny, for the 1998 murder of a UNR Police sergeant, and the subsequent theft of a car and robbery of two stores.  Vanisi previously appealed his convictions and death sentence, which were affirmed by the Nevada Supreme Court in 2001.  Vanisi then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the district court, arguing that his conviction was invalid for numerous reasons.  The district court denied the habeas corpus petition and Vanisi has appealed that decision to the Supreme Court.  ISSUES:  Does the jury's consideration of an invalid aggravating circumstance warrant a new penalty hearing?  Was Vanisi's trial counsel ineffective?  Was Vanisi's counsel for his appeal ineffective?  Did the district court err in finding Vanisi competent to proceed with his post-conviction petition? 

Mack (Darren) v. State of Nevada,

Docket No. 51143

Carson City - 10:30 a.m. - Full court (Justice Hardesty voluntarily recused himself from participation in this matter)

Darren Mack is appealing his convictions of first-degree murder and attempted murder with the use of a deadly weapon.  Mack pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the killing of his estranged wife.  Mack also pleaded guilty to the shooting of the Washoe County Family Court Judge who was presiding over the couple's divorce, pursuant to North Carolina v. Alford, in which a defendant pleads guilty without actually admitting guilt.  Before he was sentenced, Mack requested that he be allowed to withdraw his guilty pleas, claiming that he did not fully understand the nature and consequences of the pleas.  This request was denied.  Mack was then sentenced to 20 years to life for first-degree murder, and 96 to 240 months for attempted murder, and a consecutive sentence of 96 to 240 months for the use of a deadly weapon.  ISSUES:  Should an understanding of lesser-included offenses be factored into determining whether a defendant's guilty plea is knowing and voluntary?  Should Nevada follow Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs pleas in federal courts?  

Reno Newspapers, Inc. v. Governor Jim Gibbons,

Docket No. 53360

Carson City - 11:30 a.m. - Full court

This appeal arises from a dispute between Governor Jim Gibbons and the Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ) over a request by the newspaper for some of the Governor's e-mails.  In 2008, the RGJ made a public records request for e-mails between Governor Gibbons and 10 people over a six-month time period.  In the event that the Governor objected to the request, the RGJ asked that it alternatively be provided with a log indicating, for each e-mail, the sender, all recipients, the message date, and the basis on which access was being denied.  The Governor denied the request, claiming that the requested e-mails were either privileged or not considered public records.  The RGJ filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the district court, seeking access to the e-mails or the alternative log.  After a hearing and a review of the e-mails by the judge, the district court granted the writ as to six e-mails, and denied the writ as to the remaining e-mails.  The RGJ is now appealing the district court's decision.   ISSUES:  What is a public record for purposes of the Nevada Public Records Act?  Should the district court have ordered the Governor to produce the requested log rather than personally reviewing the e-mails and determining which e-mails should be provided? 


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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on March 1, 2010 8:21 AM.

9th Circuit finds bad Miranda warnings and an involuntary confession was the previous entry in this blog.

Oral arguments Tuesday - 3/2 - at the Nevada Supreme Court is the next entry in this blog.

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