Today's Las Vegas Sun reports, "Defense attorney uses mandated legislative study in bid to toss capital charges against four clients," by Bethany Barnes and Jackie Valley. Here's the beginning of this extensive article:
Several alleged killers’ lives could be spared next month if Las Vegas judges rule in favor of defense requests to drop the prosecution’s bid for the death penalty.
The unusual motions filed by defense attorney Anthony Sgro come in light of the Nevada Legislature's approval this year of Assembly Bill 444, which calls for an audit of the state death penalty.
The audit, which is due by Jan. 31, 2015, is considered by some in the legal community a tall task: It’s a calculation of costs for all legal counsel — both defense and prosecution — for the capital pretrial, trial and postconviction proceedings. On top of that, it must include associated costs such as investigators, mitigation specialists, experts and actual cost of incarceration.
The motions are an effort to turn what is generally a philosophical conversation into a fiscal one.
“It seems to me, at some point, whether it is a district attorney or judge or, in this case, defense attorneys, somebody has to at least shine a flashlight on the problem,” Sgro said.
And so with the audit looming on the horizon and its consequences unknown, Sgro filed motions to strike the state’s intent to seek the death penalty in four murder cases: Bryan Clay, Prentice Marshall, Maurice Sims and David James Burns.
If judges aren’t keen on going that far, the motion asks, as an alternative, for capital proceedings to be delayed in those cases until the audit has been completed.
Earlier coverage of the Nevada cost study begins at the link.