Las Vegas Criminal Lawyer Talks About Post Conviction Relief
The worst criminal penalty imposed on a person in the state of Nevada is a death sentence. There are currently more than 80 people who have been sentenced to death in Nevada and who are waiting for their judgment to be carried out. No one has been executed in the state since 2006, but this does not necessarily mean that a death penalty case cannot move forward and result in a defendant being put to death.
If you have been sentenced to death, this does not necessarily mean that you must be resigned to your fate. You can fight the judgment of death and seek post-conviction relief. You will need to have a very good lawyer to help you understand the process of arguing for post-conviction relief and to help you make the strongest possible arguments to convince the court to overturn your sentence.
Lawyers at LV Criminal Defense provides representation to defendants who are seeking post-conviction relief after being sentenced to death. Our legal team has the knowledge and insight to offer assistance in this complex area of law and we will work hard to do everything possible to help save your life when you have been sentenced to death. Give us a call today to speak with a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney who is committed to helping you fight for a sentence of death to be overturned.
Petition for Post Conviction Relief
There is a section within the Nevada code of criminal procedure that provides instructions for the post-conviction relief process. Within this section of the law, there are statutes that explain who has the authority to enter a stay of execution and how to determine whether a stay of execution should be entered. There is also information on how a stay of execution must be ordered, as well as when and how it must be vacated.
N.R.S. 176.486 vest the authority to order a stay of execution in a district court, court of appeals, or the Supreme Court. A stay may be granted when a post-conviction petition for habeas corpus has been filed. A petition for habeas corpus challenges defects in trial or sentencing. Filing a petition for habeas corpus generally occurs after a direct appeal to challenge the judgement on constitutional grounds.
N.R.S. 176.487 details how a court must determine whether or not to enter a stay of execution. If a person who has been sentenced to death submits a post-conviction petition for habeas corpus, the court with jurisdiction can enter a stay if the court finds that a stay is necessary to allow proper consideration of the claim for relief from the judgment. The court needs to consider different factors in determining the appropriateness of the stay including:
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- Whether the petition for habeas corpus is the first attempt that the defendant has made to raise constitutional claims for relief after a direct appeal following a conviction. If it is not the first petition for post-conviction relief, the court must also consider whether or not the petition raises constitutional claims which aren’t barred by laws of criminal procedure which would have required the claims be made earlier.
- Whether the petition for habeas corpus raises claims which are different from those which could have been raised at trial or which could have been raised during the direct appeal.
- Whether the petition was filed in a timely manner and whether it was filed in the appropriate jurisdiction.
- Whether the petition sets forth conclusory claims only.
- Whether the petition provides substantial grounds upon which the defendant might be granted relief, and whether valid grounds for the claims are provided which were not presented in prior legal proceedings.
- Whether the petition asserts claims which, if true, would give the defendant the right to relief.
The court, in making its decision, cannot decide legal claims which are properly raised during the execution of a sentence or expeditiously hold an evidence hearing to make decisions on factual claims which are properly raised during execution of a sentence.
Entering a Stay of Execution and Vacating a Stay of Execution
If the court makes a decision that a stay of execution should be entered, N.R.S. 176.488 indicates that the order for the stay has to be entered by the court in written form. Copies of the written decision have to be sent to the warden of the prison the defendant is residing in, as well as to the Department of Corrections and the Carson City Office of the Attorney General. The court must take all necessary actions to expedite future proceedings when entering the stay.
If the petition for habeas corpus is denied, the stay of execution which the court previously entered must be vacated. This would mean that the execution could move forward. N.R.S. 176.491 also indicates that any stays of execution which were entered during the appeals process must be dissolved following a denial of an appeal.
Getting Legal Help from a Criminal Attorney in Las Vegas
Knowing how to appeal in a death penalty case is difficult, but it is essential that you understand all of the different possible ways you could try to get the judgment against you overturned so you no longer face a sentence of death. LV Criminal Defense can provide the assistance you need.
We help you try to avoid a conviction and sentence of death in the first place, so you should give us a call as soon as you are under investigation or when you have been charged and are facing trial for a capital crime. If you have been convicted, we are here to provide you with representation as you seek post-conviction relief. We help with all stages of appeals and with trying to get a stay of execution.
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To find out more about how death penalty cases work, about options for appeals, and about how a knowledgeable and experienced Las Vegas defense lawyer can assist you in fighting for your life when you’re facing the death penalty, give us a call now.