Motion for a New Trial in Nevada: Definition, How It Works, Process, and FAQs

Most people follow high-profile court cases or famous cases on television.

If there wasn’t a healthy curiosity for these court proceedings, then there would be no Court TV or Investigative Discovery Channel or ID.

Over the years, these channels have become the general public’s version of being in the court gallery.

While watching these trials and court proceedings you may have heard of a motion for a new trial.

A motion for a new trial is basically what it sounds like—a court case do-over if you will.

Requesting a motion for a new trial is where a defendant was convicted at trial and then asks a judge to vacate or get rid of the original verdict and grant a new trial.

The court will allow a new trial for a variety of reasons including new evidence, ineffective assistance of counsel, or misconduct by prosecutors, jurors, or the judge in the original trial. If the motion for a new trial gets denied by a judge, the defendant can still pursue an appeal.

If a judge does grant the motion for a new trial, the verdict from the original trial is no longer valid or vacated.

NRS 176.515 states: The Court May Grant a New Trial to a Defendant if required as a matter of law or on the ground of newly discovered evidence.

How Is This Different From an Appeal

There are several ways to get post-conviction relief including a motion for a new trial and an appeal.

During the appeal process, the case will be heard by a higher court. If the original case was heard by the Clark County District Court, the appeal will be heard by The Nevada Supreme Court.

In the case of the motion for a new trial, the case will be heard in the same trial court as the original case. If your original case was heard in the Las Vegas justice case, then the motion for a new trial will be heard in the same court.

The other main difference between an appeal and a motion for a new trial is evidence.

In the appeals process, new evidence is not considered.

The appellate court merely reviews the original trial. The motion for a new trial on the other hand may include new evidence as one of the reasons to get a new trial.

The appeals process is more common than requesting a new trial. Judges rarely grant new trials, since they do not like to admit that the original trials were flawed in any way.

What Are the Grounds to Get a New Trial

The idea of a motion for a new trial is to right a wrong that occurred at the first trial.

There are some common reasons to motion for a new trial that lawyers see most often:

Newly Discovered Evidence

In some cases, new evidence emerges after the original trial is concluded that would have been relevant to the charges of the crime and may even have changed the outcome of the case.

Not all evidence will get someone a new trial though.

Nevada will only consider granting a new trial if the evidence meets the following seven criteria:

  1. The evidence must be newly discovered
  2. The evidence must be material to the Defense
  3. The evidence could not have been discovered or produced for the original trial even with the exercise of reasonable diligence
  4. The evidence must not be cumulative ( the evidence must not be similar to previous evidence)
  5. The evidence must indicate that a different result is probable on retrial
  6. The evidence must not simply be an attempt to contradict or discredit a former witness, and
  7. The evidence must be the best evidence the case admits, the evidence must be original in nurture and not a copy of any kind

There is a high bar for granting a new trial based on new evidence. The evidence needs to be highly relevant, favorable to the defendant, and could not have been reasonably found during the original trial.

New evidence that warrants a new trial is largely a matter of opinion.

Your experienced legal team will know how to argue that any new evidence qualifies you for a new trial.

Judicial Error

The court system and its filings are very complicated and can mean there are many errors within the proceedings of a trial.

Mistakes are made in trials all the time. To obtain a new trial based on judicial error, the defendant is required to demonstrate that such an error had a significant impact on the defendant’s rights during the trial.

If the judge finds that the errors were harmless and did not prejudice the defendant the motion for a new trial will not be granted.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

This is a frequent request for grounds for a new trial. This is when the prosecutor commits misconduct at the original trial that would have prejudiced the defendant. The most common type of prosecutorial misconduct is failing to disclose exculpatory evidence that may have suggested the defendant is not guilty.

Some other examples are referring to inadmissible evidence in front of the jury, falling to gather material evidence out of bad faith or gross negligence.

Jury Misconduct

Jury misconduct can be grounds for a new trial unless it’s beyond a reasonable doubt that the misconduct did not prejudice the defendant.

The jury misconduct that could warrant a new trial include:

  1. A juror intentionally gave false information during “voir dire” or the jury selection process
  2. The juror conducted improper deliberations
  3. The jury was given information that was nt on the record
  4. A juror had contact with a witness
  5. A juror was intoxicated during trial or deliberations

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

This is grounds for a new trial only if the defendant can prove that the incompetence of the defendant’s legal team deprived them of a fair trial.

Minor mistakes that don’t influence the outcome of a trial do not qualify.

How to File a Motion for a New Trial

You as the defendant have the right to file a motion for a new trial, however, the paperwork is highly complicated and will be denied if not filed properly.

If you wish to request a new trial based on new evidence, you may do so within a two-year period following the guilty verdict.

Otherwise, you only have seven days after the guilty verdict to submit the motion for a new trial to the court.

The one exception to this is genetic marker testing.

If you have been imprisoned for a Class A or B felony you can request these tests like DNA testing of evidence that contributed to your conviction.

If the results suggest the defendant might be innocent, a motion for a new trial may be requested at any time.

If the statute of limitations has passed to file a motion for a new trial, someone who is incarcerated may contest their incarceration by filing a writ of habeas corpus.

A writ of habeas corpus filing by a defense attorney may include new evidence in the proceedings.

There is a system for filing a motion for a new trial.

First, if the request is denied by a judge, the defendant can also file an appeal with a higher court or the court of appeals.

If you file an appeal, the lower court where your case was originally heard no longer has the authority to grant a new trial.

However, the lower court can still hear the motion for a new trial and certify to the court that it does intend to grant a new trial.

In this case, the appeals court will remand or return the case to the lower or court or original court for a new trial.

How Can The Defenders Help You

As you can see, filing a motion for a new trial can be confusing and complicated. Since filing a motion for a new trial can have a profound effect on your current situation as well as your future, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced defense team to help with a motion for a new trial.

If the paperwork is not submitted to the court within the time frame or the paperwork is not completed properly, the motion for a new trial may be denied on those grounds alone.

The Defenders will file the paperwork for a motion for a new trial within the statute of limitations and make sure that your motion paperwork is submitted directly to the court.

The Defenders will investigate your original trial and any new evidence to determine if filing a motion for a new trial is even the best post-conviction relief option.

If it is decided that a motion for a new trial is not an option The Defenders will present other post-conviction options like an appeal or a writ of habeas corpus as other options.

If you are seeking a motion for a new trial contact The Defenders for a consultation today.

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