Summary of Burnside v. State, 131 Nev. Adv. Op. 40 (June 25, 2015)


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Defendant Timothy Burnside was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. On appeal, defendant argued that a litany of errors occurred below, three of which were the focus of the Court opinion in particular. The Supreme Court of Nevada held (1) although the State did not properly notice an expert who provided testimony related to cell phone signals data, the error was not reversible, (2) the district court should not have referred to elements of a crime as “material elements” during jury instruction, but this error was not reversible, and (3) as to the penalty phase, the State failed to meet its burden in proving that Burnside’s prior conviction involved the use of or threat of violence, and therefore this was improperly given to the jury as an aggravating circumstance; however, because there were no mitigating circumstances, this did not warrant reversal.

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