Nevada law imposes strict requirements on how judgments must be executed, or carried out. These rules exist in order to make sure that when a defendant has been sentenced to penalties for a crime, the defendant can serve his penalties in an orderly fashion with his due process rights protected. Defendants are entitled to many different legal safeguards during the penalty process, no matter what the judgement against them. For example, if a defendant is sentenced to imprisonment, the rules specify when and how the defendant must be taken into custody and what date he begins to serve his sentence.
Because the death penalty is the most severe penalty in the state of Nevada, the rules for how to execute a judgement of death are especially strict. There are provisions under Nevada law for how and when a judgment of death must be carried out, as well as rules for when an execution must be stayed pending an outcome of an appeal or pending a determination on the defendant’s sanity. There is also a section of the Nevada code which details when an how a new order to execute judgement of death may become necessary.
Any defendant who is faced with a charge of a capital crime has to understand all of the rules for the death penalty in Nevada. A defendant also needs to know what happens when a new order to execute judgement of death is ordered, as well as what his options are for fighting to have his sentence of death overturned. We at LV Criminal Defense provide advice and representation to defendants who are facing a possible death sentence, so give us a call as soon as possible to learn what an experienced Las Vegas criminal attorney can do for you.
There is a subsection of the Nevada code of criminal procedure which specifically provides information on what happens when a new order to execute judgment of death becomes necessary. This subsection has two Nevada statutes found under its heading: NR.S. 176.495, which sets forth the general rules for a new warrant; and N.R.S. 176.505, which sets forth the rules for a new order to execute judgement of death after an appeal.
According to N.R.S. 176.495, if there is any reason why a valid judgement of death has not ben executed or carried out by the required time limit in the original judgment and warrant, the judgement remains in force. Upon the request of the district attorney in the county where the defendant was convicted, or upon the request of the Attorney General of that county, the court where the defendant was convicted has to issue another warrant. The new warrant has to be signed by the judge and attested by the court clerk under the court’s seal. Once the new legally valid warrant has been prepared, the new warrant must be delivered to the Director of the Department of Corrections.
Just like the original warrant, the new warrant has to provide a time line for which the judgement of death must be executed and the defendant put to death. The judgement has to state the conviction and specify that the judgement was a judgement of death. It must declare a week during which the execution is to take place, with the week starting on Monday and ending on Sunday. The date for the execution has to be at least 15 days from when the warrant was issued and has to be no more than 30 days from the date the warrant was issued. The defendant does not have to be present in the court when the new warrant for the execution of judgement is issued by the court.
Once the warrant is issued, the Director of the Department of Corrections is supposed to execute the judgement of death and arrange for a lethal injection of the defendant during the week which was specified in the judgement. Unless a stay of execution is entered with a court that has jurisdiction over the case, the judgement can be executed by the Director at any time over the course of the week-long period.
In addition to general situations where a new order may be required, there are also situations where a new order has to be made to execute a judgement of death after an appeal. N.R.S. 176.505 provides details on situations where a new order following an appeal is required.
According to the relevant law, a remittitur affirming the judgment of death has to be filed by the appeals court in the court in which the conviction against the defendant was obtained, if the appeal is unsuccessful. When the remittitur is filed with the clerk of the court from which the appeal was taken, the court where the defendant was convicted will inquire into the facts. If no legal reasons are discovered prohibiting the execution of the judgement of death to move forward, the court where the defendant was convicted will need to issue a new order. Just like when a new order is issued for any reason, the defendant does not have to be present when the new order is issued.
If an order is filed dismissing an appeal or upholding a sentence of death is issued by an appellate court with jurisdiction over the case, the same process of issuing a new order should take place as would occur when a remittitur was filed.
In both situations, the court where the defendant was convicted will issue an order that will require the Director of the Department of Corrections to execute the judgement of death during a specific week.
LV Criminal Defense can provide guidance and assistance during death penalty cases, from the time when you are accused of a capital crime until your case is ultimately resolved by getting the sentence overturned or by exhausting all appeals.
To learn more about how a Las Vegas defense lawyer provides assistance with appeals in death penalty cases, give us a call or contact us online today.