Nevada Supreme Court oral arguments: May 5

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Mitchell (David) v. State,
Docket No. 50305
Carson City
- 10:00 a.m. - Justices Cherry, Saitta and Gibbons

In this case, David Winfield Mitchell is appealing his conviction for murdering Sheila Jo Harris in 1982 in Carson City, Nevada.  Mitchell eluded charges for a quarter century until the advent of DNA testing provided evidence of his guilt.  Mitchell was convicted of first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon.  While that appeal was pending, the State filed a motion to correct the sentence, in which it argued that the district court had improperly sentenced Mitchell on the deadly weapon enhancement pursuant to sentencing guidelines in place at the time of conviction when it should have sentenced him pursuant to the guidelines in place at the time he committed the crime.  The district court granted the State's motion and filed an amended judgment of conviction in which it imposed an equal sentence of life without the possibility of parole for the deadly weapon enhancement as was required by statutes in place at the time Mitchell committed the crime. ISSUES:  Did the district court lack jurisdiction to resentence Mitchell while his appeal was pending?  Do the various other miscellaneous errors claimed by Mitchell warrant reversal of his conviction? 

Fraser (Ryan) v. State,
Docket No. 53675
Carson City
- 10:30 a.m. - Justices Cherry, Saitta and Gibbons

This case arises out of an incident where appellant Ryan Fraser digitally penetrated a four-year-old girl.  The victim then told numerous adults that Fraser sexually abused her, but her accounts of the abuse varied.  In relation to the victim, the State charged Fraser with two counts of sexual assault of a child under the age of 14 years.  Before trial, the Lyon district court found the victim competent to testify. The district court also ruled that the victim's out-of-court statements regarding the sexual abuse and testimony about a prior bad act were admissible. At trial, the victim testified that Fraser performed cunnilingus on her.  During cross-examination, she also confirmed that the State's lead prosecutor told her what to say during trial. In response to the witness tampering allegations, the district court permitted the prosecutor to testify.  Following trial, the jury convicted Fraser of one count of sexual assault for the digital penetration of a child. Fraser now appeals.  ISSUES:  Did the district court abuse its discretion by allowing the prosecutor to testify at trial?  Did the district court abuse its discretion by finding E.G. competent to testify? Did the district court violate Fraser's Sixth Amendment rights or abuse its discretion by admitting testimony about the victim's hearsay statements? Did the district court abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of an uncharged prior bad act of child sexual assault?

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This page contains a single entry by JoNell published on May 3, 2010 9:13 AM.

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