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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 Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Daniel Bogden for Nevada's U.S. Attorney position.

Las Vegas Municipal Court George Assad has issued a letter of apology, pursuant to an order in June 2008 by the Nevada Supreme Court, to a woman who was detained until her boyfriend showed up in court to take of his unpaid traffic tickets.

The Ninth Circuit issued an opinion today in US v. Juvenile Male, in which it finds that part of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act is unconstitutional as applied to former juvenile offenders.


Republic of Iraq v. Beaty - in a unanimous decision, authored by Justice Scalia, the Court holds that Americans do not have a right to sue the present government of Iraq for torture and other abuse that took place under the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Boyle v. United States - in a 7-2 decision, authored by Justice Alito, the Court defined the term "enterprise" for federal RICO statutes as the term applies to organizations that are not formal.  RICO does not apply to a loose group of criminal suspects who engage in crime together, but does apply to persons who work together in a "structure" - they have a purpose, relationship with each other, and they operate long enough to permit the pursuit of the group's purpose.

United States v. Denedo - in a 5-4 decision, authored by Justice Kennedy, the Court holds that a military court conviction that has become final can be challenged in appeal within the military judicial system by a former member of the service.

Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal - in a 5-4 decision, authored by Justice Kennedy, the Court holds that it was unconstitutional for a state supreme court justice to sit on a case involving the financial interests of a major donor to the judge's election campaign.  The Court found the contributions to be extreme.  The donor had contributed $3 million to the justice, at a time when his company was appealing a $50 million judgment.  The $3 million exceeded the contributions of all other donors combined.  The Court finds that under these circumstances, the Due Process rights of the opposing parties were violated. 

United States ex rel. Eisenstein v. New York City - in a unanimous decision, authored by Justice Thomas, the Court holds that after a federal judge rules on a private individual's claim to recover misspent federal funds, in a case in which the US government does not participate, that individual has 30 days to file an appeal.


Jon Ralston will examine issues concerning Judge Mosley on tonight's Face to Face.  The description in the Las Vegas Sun looks interesting.

The Nevada Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics and Election Practices has issued Opinion JE08-15.  The issue presentented is "May a recently elected justice of the peace continue to serve on the Nevada Council for the Prevention of Domestic Violence?"  The short answer is "Yes, with full disclosure."

The Committee also issued Opinion JE08-14.  The issue presented is "May a judge preside over cases in adult guardianship court for attorneys who are tenants in a commercial building owned by the judge?"  The short answer is "No."

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