Latest Nevada Supreme Court Decisions

Quisano v. State of Nevada (published NV Court of Appeals) (sentencing upheld)

Defendant's 3-year-old child died from blunt force trauma to the head.  Originally charged with murder, defendant pled to charges of voluntary manslaughter and child abuse with substantial bodily harm.  

  • State failed to turn over statements and evidence (social services documents and testimony in family court proceedings) from girlfriend regarding concerns about defendant's parenting.  At sentencing, State used these prior statements to impeach the girlfriend.  Quisano objected as the State had never turned over this discovery.  State argued it was a "victim-impact statement."
  • Appellate Court held it was not a Brady violation as it was exculpatory evidence.
  • But held that Clark County DA office has an "open-file" policy which means the DA must turn over all evidence, inculpatory and exculpatory, at all stages of the case including sentencing.
  • Though the Court found prosecutor engaged in misconduct, determined it would not have changed the outcome of the sentence.
  • There is some great language about proprietorial misconduct for failing to comply with the open-file policy.

Brown v. State of Nevada (unpublished) (affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part)

Defendant was found guilty at jury trial of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon - a knife. 

  • Court held that district court's jury instruction which stated "a knife is a deadly weapon" was reversible error.
  • The jury must determine if a knife is a deadly weapon.

 

 

Martinez v. State of Nevada (unpublished) (reversed and remanded)

District court revoked defendant's probation because he was unable to pass the physical fitness tests at boot camp.  Court found district court abused discretion by revoking probation.  Remanded for new hearing.

Cox v. State of Nevada (unpublished) (affirmed in part, reversed in part)

Defendant accused of a hit-and-run car accident involving three-year-old Samantha.  Jury trial found him guilty of both (1) leaving the scene of an accident and (2) battery with the use of a deadly weapon resulting in substantial bodily harm.

  • Court reversed the battery conviction.
  • "Because the State had to prove that Cox intended to hit Samantha with his car, the district court erred in allowing the State to argue that Cox could be guilty of aggravated battery if he purposely drove in a dangerous manner."
  • An intent to drive dangerously does not establish the required mens rea to prove an aggravated battery charge under NRS 200.481(2)(e)(2).