The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark search twitter facebook feed linkedin instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close
Skip to main content

In Valdez v. State, the Nevada Supreme Court recently ruled on the constitutional rights and statutory procedures regarding instructing a jury on the separating the finding of guilt from the penalty phase of the legal process in a first-degree murder case.

In Valdez the Court addressed four issues:

1) Whether the district court must explicitly instruct the jury, immediately prior to deliberations in a first-degree murder case, that it is to determine only the question of guilt and not deliberate on the sentence until the separate penalty phase of the proceedings;

2) Whether the jury acted improperly by deliberating the penalty while deciding the issue of guilt, and if so, whether the district court abused its discretion in denying a motion for a mistrial based on this jury misconduct;

3) Whether numerous alleged acts of prosecutorial misconduct require reversal; and,

4) Whether cumulative error warrants reversal in this case.

The Nevada Supreme Court ultimately found that "the district court’s failure to give a written instruction regarding bifurcation was an abuse of discretion" and that the ensuing juror misconduct violated Valdez’s constitutional rights and therefore warrants reversal.

The entire opinion can be found here.

Comments are closed.

Of Interest