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Case Summary

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Case Synopsis

This discusses whether Nevada justice courts have jurisdiction to rule on motions to suppress illegally obtained evidence. In March of 2014, the State filed a criminal complaint against LeCory Grace in the Las Vegas Justice Court. The complaint charged Grace with one count of possession of a controlled substance. At Grace’s preliminary hearing, Grace orally moved to suppress evidence that may have been illegally obtained. The justice court concluded that the search was unlawful, suppressed the evidence derived from the search and dismissed the case against Grace. The State appealed the justice court’s order of suppression and the Eighth Judicial District Court found in the State’s favor. Grace filed a petition and sought a writ directing the district court to vacate its order ruling that justice courts in Nevada do not have authority to consider a motion to suppress where the State attempts to enter unlawfully obtained evidence.

The Court concluded justice courts have the power to suppress illegally obtained evidence because NRS 47.020 and NRS 48.025 expressly authorize justice courts to do so, NRS 171.206 and Sargent show that justice courts have limited inherent authority to do so, and NRS 189.120, A.B. 65 (2007) and A.B. 192 (2015) show that the legislature envisions justice courts have that power. Accordingly, the Court granted Grace’s petition and issued a writ of mandamus directing the court to vacate its order.

Publication Citation

Grace v. The Eight Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada, 132 Nev. Adv. Op. 51 (July 21, 2016)