Saturday, June 3, 2023

Judge: Nevada can’t yet consider commuting the death penalty

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Nevada’s clemency board will not consider outgoing Governor Steve Sisolak’s last-minute request to commute all 57 death sentences in the state, a judge ordered Monday evening.

Delivering his ruling from the bench, Carson City District Court Judge James Wilson Jr. said the state board of pardons, which includes the governor, has the authority to approve such pardons, but before meeting the families of the victims failed to inform properly.

The board was set to vote on the request Tuesday morning.

“I think the victim of capital murder needs to be shown fairness and respect for her dignity,” Wilson said Monday evening. His order came in response to an emergency petition filed last week by Chris Hicks, a Republican district attorney in Reno, who criticized Sisolak’s request as “unjust and undemocratic.”

The board will still meet Tuesday morning as scheduled but will not discuss the conversion.

political cartoon

A spokeswoman for Sisolak’s office declined to comment Monday evening on the judge’s order. He said that the Governor will address the meeting on Tuesday.

Sisolak, who last year opposed legislative efforts to abolish the death penalty, confirmed last week that he wanted to eliminate the state’s death penalty, carried out in prison without parole, before leaving office in two weeks. Wanted to commute the sentence of all the prisoners awaiting sentence.

His request came on the heels of outgoing Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, also a Democrat, who used her executive clemency powers last Tuesday to commute all 17 death sentences in her state.

Nevada has not executed an inmate since 2006. All but one of the 12 people executed in the state since 1977, when Nevada reinstated the death penalty, have waived their appeals.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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