When and How is the Death Penalty used in Nevada?
- Defendant is currently incarcerated
- Previous murder conviction
- Murder was committed during a robbery, kidnapping, home invasion or first-degree arson, and the perpetrator intended to kill or use lethal force
- The homicide was committed to facilitate an escape or prevent an arrest
- Murder for hire
- Victim was a peace officer or under the age of 14
- Torture was involved
- Homicide was deemed a hate crime
Not all murders that meet the criteria for capital punishment will be prosecuted as a death penalty case. Instead, death penalty cases will first undergo a trial phase whereby guilt or innocence will be determined. If the jury returns a guilty verdict, a penalty phase will follow in order for the jury to decide whether the death penalty is appropriate.
Those accused of a crime that qualifies as a capital case have the most to lose if they are found guilty. For this reason, a strong defense attorney such as Cal Potter is recommended.