Cases in the News: January 2010 Archives

Nevada Supreme Court issues 1 opinion

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The Nevada Supreme Court has issued its first opinion of the year.  In Higgs v. State, the Court, sitting en banc, in an opinion authored by Justice Hardesty, affirms the conviction for first degree murder of Chaz Higgs.  The Court rejects Higgs' argument that expert testimony should be subject to the standard set forth by the US Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals and rejects the claim that the nevada Supreme Court's decision in Hallmark v. Eldridge adopted the standard set forth in Daubert inferentially.  The Court also rejected Higgs' claims concerning the district court's refusal to continue the trial, sufficiency of the evidence, jury instructions on spoliation of evidence, and cumulative error.


Justice Cherry and Justice Saitta authored separate opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part.  They agreed with the majority's decision to reject Daubert, but found that the district court abused its discretion in denying the motion to continue the trial.



This and That

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Good news and bad news: the Nevada Supreme Court has vacated the death penalty for Herbert Wesley, based upon an invalid aggravating circumstance, and has ordered a new penalty trial; but an execution date for the first week of February 2010 has been set for death row inmate Robert McConnell based upon his Washoe County conviction.

Note - the Sun article states that Nevada's last execution was in 1996.  This is not accurate.  Mack was executed in 2006.

The Nevada Supreme Court has approved a revised code of judicial conduct.  It does not appear that the revisions have been posted to the Nevada Supreme Court's website.

This and That

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The New York Times notes in an editorial, Prisons and Budgets, that the US has less than 5% of the world's population, but about 25% ot is prisoners.  The costs of such incarcerations are a huge issue for many states.

Adam Liptak reports on the decision by the American Law Institute to abandon efforts at creating a modern framework for the death penalty.  The ALI disavowed the structure it had created "in light of the current intractable institutional and structural obstacles to ensuring a minimally adequate system for administering capital punishment."

A case concerning prosecutorial conduct has been dismissed by the US Supreme Court as moot, after an Iowa county and two men freed after spending 26 years in prison for murder settled the case for $12 million.  Prosecutors had knowingly used false evidence to convict the two men.  The case was argued before the Court in November.   

Via Sentencing Law & Policy, The Department of Justice has established new guidance for federal prosecutors regarding criminal discovery.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Cases in the News category from January 2010.

Cases in the News: September 2009 is the previous archive.

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