Nevada Rules on Stay of Execution

People in court waiting for the judge

The Death Penalty is a very polarizing topic in America. Some people firmly believe in the death penalty while others stand against it.

However, 27 states legally allow for the death penalty including Nevada. Some states legally have and can sentence people to death but are not currently carrying out executions. In other states, the death penalty is illegal. For some time the death penalty was illegal in the U.S. until it was reinstated in 1976.

Since that time, Nevada has successfully executed 12 people with the last execution taking place in 2006. There are currently 64 people awaiting execution in Nevada.

Recently, we have been reading stories of people who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes, spending years on death row before they were found to be innocent because of new or existing evidence.

Nevada has even had its fair share of death row inmates exonerated. Roberto Miranda was sentenced to death and exonerated after 14 years on death row. Ronnie Milligan’s sentence was reduced to parole after 20 years on death row. This goes to show you that a death penalty conviction is not perfect and there are many more cases of people wrongfully accused or convicted and sentenced to death that were innocent.

Without automatic appeals and stays of execution, some of the inmates would have been wrongfully executed. I wonder how many innocent people have been executed since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, never mind since the beginning of the death penalty?

Nevada Rules for a Stay of Execution

Nevada revised statute 177.095 provides details on the Nevada rules for a stay of execution if someone has been sentenced to death. The relevant code states:

  1. The defendant is entitled to automatic appeals process if sentenced to death
  2. A stay of execution must be put in place until all appeals have been processed up to and including an appeal to the Supreme Court
  3. The defendant does not have to appeal; the process is automatic since the death penalty was the sentence.
  4. The court will automatically review the case
  5. The court will automatically grant an appellate attorney for the defendant

The Appeals Process and Stays of Execution

The defendant has the right to automatic appeals if convicted and sentenced to death.

A stay of execution is granted while the appeals process takes place. The defendant has the right to waive all appeals, however, the courts will automatically review the case.

The courts reviewing the case look for errors in the original trial.

The appellate court also considered whether the evidence supports the aggravating circumstances to justify the death penalty. They also consider whether or not prejudice, passion, or other factors played into the decision of the death sentence.

Another question that the appellate court tries to answer is whether or not the death penalty will be an effective punishment considering the crime and the defendant. After the appeals process, the court can either affirm the sentence or set aside the verdict and oppose a new sentence or send it to another trial just for sentencing.

In Nevada, some death penalty inmates will receive a resentencing trial.

This is where a jury is convened, and the evidence is resubmitted to a new jury just for the purpose of sentencing.

The jury will not decide guilt or innocence, in this case, they will just decide whether or not the defendant will still receive the death penalty or receive a lesser sentence of life in prison or another sentence.

Stays of Execution, Why So Long?

If you look at any death row around the country including Nevada the length of time defendants remain on death row can be decades.

This costs the taxpayers approximately $90,000 per year per death row inmate while they have a stay of execution. A trial for a death row inmate will run the state of Nevada around 1 million dollars.

The appeals process is slow as they work their way through each appellate court.

This gives the defendant an automatic stay of exertion until the appeals process has concluded.

This also gives your attorney time to find new evidence or mitigating circumstances to get your conviction overturned.

Since the death penalty was reinstated in the US in 1973, 190 people have been wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death have been exonerated.

Why Call The Defenders

If you have been arrested for any crime you need to call a defense attorney right away.

A lot of defendants who are wrongfully convicted did not have proper representation.

Once you are convicted of a crime and sentenced even to death, getting the conviction and the sentence overturned is extremely difficult to almost impossible. It can take years to have a wrongful conviction overturned and sometimes it never happens.

That’s why hiring a legal team, in the beginning, can mean the difference between going to prison and maybe not or getting a reduced sentence.

If you have been convicted and sentenced to death you will be appointed an appellate attorney by the court. These are attorneys with large caseloads that are required to take your case almost like a public defender.

If you have any chance of being exonerated or having your sentence reduced, you need an attorney that can fight for you with over 40 years of experience in the Nevada court system.

The Defenders have had favorable outcomes for many of our clients including those who have been charged with serious crimes.

We have a large group of attorneys in our offices with a variety of specialties including death penalty conviction cases and stays of execution and the appeals process for a death penalty case. The Defenders will use all available resources to investigate the charges against you or the conviction that has caused you to be incarcerated. If after our investigation we discover new evidence or evidence that wasn’t presented at trial we can file an appeal in your case.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can a death row inmate stay on death row while they appeal their sentence?

The length of time that an individual remains on Death Row varies depending on the state in which they are incarcerated. In Nevada, inmates may remain for several years, or even decades, as their appeals work their way through the courts. Generally speaking, an execution cannot be carried out until all appeals have been exhausted.

Does Nevada allow resentencing trials?

Yes, in certain cases those sentenced to death may receive a resentencing trial where a jury is convened and evidence reviewed just for the purpose of sentencing. This does not involve determining guilt or innocence but instead deciding what sentence should be imposed upon the defendant.

Can a death sentence be overturned?

Yes, a death sentence can be overturned if new evidence or information is discovered that affects the conviction or sentencing of an individual. This usually involves finding evidence that proves innocence or obtaining mitigating circumstances, such as mental illness, which could reduce the sentence to something other than death. It is also possible for individuals to receive clemency from the governor in some cases.

What should I do if I am charged with a crime that carries a potential death penalty?

If you are facing charges of any kind, it is important to contact an experienced attorney immediately. The Defenders have attorneys who specialize in defending those who have been charged with severe crimes and work hard to find the best outcome for their clients. We will review your case and provide you with the best defense possible. Contact us today to learn more.

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