Local prosecutors oppose Nevada governor’s request to stop all state death sentences

Emergency petitions from county DAs oppose request for state Board of Pardons to consider altering all state death sentences.

Two Nevada county district attorney's offices have filed emergency petitions against Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak's request for the state Board of Pardons to consider altering all state death sentences.

Sisolak requested the item be added to the board's agenda last Wednesday, his communication director told 8 News Now. The board, which includes Governor Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford, and Nevada's seven Supreme Court Justices, is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning.

The board will consider "whether to commute all sentences of death for offenders convicted and sentenced to death in Nevada to a sentence of life without the possibility of parole," according to the agenda.

Washoe County District Attorney Christopher Hicks filed an emergency petition Friday against the agenda item, arguing it is a violation of Nevada's Constitution and "tramples upon the fundamental rights of crime victims and disregards due process in the law."

"Most importantly, the timing and nature of the added agenda item is an insult to those deceased victims who were tortured, raped, and slayed at the hands of the 57 heinous men on Nevada's Death Row," Hicks said in a statement.

"There is a democratic process to debate and consider issues related to the death penalty," he continued. "It has happened multiple times during past legislative sessions in Nevada. However, the proposed categorical elimination of 57 death sentences by a mere majority of an 8-member public body is unjust and undemocratic."

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson also filed an emergency petition Monday morning.

"The clear language of the Nevada Constitution limits the Board's ability to commute punishments to those cases in which a clemency application is before them," the petition states.

On Friday, Wolfson said he had "many concerns," according to KSNV News 3 Las Vegas.

Douglas County District Attorney Mark Jackson also issued a statement opposing the agenda item on Friday, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reports.