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State v. Robles-Nieves

Supreme Court of Nevada

July 25, 2013

The STATE of Nevada, Appellant,
v.
Ricardo ROBLES-NIEVES, Respondent.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Catherine Cortez Masto, Attorney General, Carson City; Steven B. Wolfson, District Attorney, and Steven S. Owens, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Clark County, for Appellant.

David M. Schieck, Special Public Defender, and Robert Arroyo, Deputy Special Public Defender, Clark County, for Respondent.

BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.

OPINION

HARDESTY, J.:

Respondent Ricardo Robles-Nieves is in custody awaiting trial on a charge of murder with the use of a deadly weapon. He successfully litigated a pretrial motion to suppress his incriminating statement to police based on a claim that his statement was procured through the use of extrinsic falsehoods. While this court has adopted a rule concerning the use of intrinsic falsehoods in eliciting a confession, the issue of the coercive effect of using extrinsic falsehoods is an issue of first impression in Nevada.

Faced with going to trial absent a key piece of evidence, the State exercised its statutory right to appeal from the order granting the motion to suppress. After several continuances and considering Robles-Nieves' repeated assertion of his speedy-trial rights, the district court set a trial date and denied the State's request to stay the trial pending resolution of its appeal. The State then renewed its motion with this court.

The State's motion provides the opportunity to address the factors that govern our discretionary decision on a motion for a stay in a criminal proceeding. We conclude that the four factors that govern our exercise of discretion in ruling on a stay motion in a civil proceeding under NRAP 8(c) are relevant to our exercise of discretion to grant a stay of a criminal proceeding pending resolution of an interlocutory suppression appeal. Those factors are: (1) whether the object of the appeal will be defeated if the stay is denied, (2) whether the appellant will suffer irreparable or serious injury if the stay is denied, (3) whether the respondent will suffer irreparable injury if the stay is granted, and (4) whether the appellant is likely to prevail on the merits in the appeal. In the context of an interlocutory suppression appeal, the first factor is the most significant because the appeal will be rendered moot and the State's right to appeal effectively eliminated if the trial proceeds. In that context, the third factor also is significant and may require consideration of the defendant's speedy-trial rights where the defendant has asserted

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those rights and opposed the motion for a stay. Having considered the relevant factors, we conclude that they weigh in favor of granting a stay in this instance.[1]

DISCUSSION

The State has not always had the right to appeal from an order granting a motion to suppress evidence. See 1967 Nev. Stat., ch. 523, ยง 287, at 1443-44 (adopting NRS 177.015 without provision for interlocutory appeal from an order resolving a motion to suppress evidence); see also State v. Pearce,96 Nev. 383, 609 P.2d 1237 (1980) (observing that the Nevada Legislature gave the State the right to file an interlocutory appeal from an order granting a motion to suppress evidence in 1971 but then deleted the provision the following legislative session); Cook v. State, 85 Nev. 692, 694-95, 462 P.2d 523, 526 (1969) (observing that interlocutory appeal from trial court's ruling on motion to suppress evidence " is not authorized" ). Part of the concern with affording the State the right to such an interlocutory appeal was that it would cause delay that would impede the defendant's right to a speedy trial. See Cook, 85 Nev. at 695, 462 P.2d at 526 (" An interlocutory appeal from the trial court's ruling on ... a motion [to suppress evidence] is not authorized because of attendant delay and the desire to avoid the piecemeal handling of cases." ); Franklin v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, 85 Nev. 401, 404, 455 P.2d 919, 921 (1969) (" Piecemeal review does not promote the orderly handling of a case, and is particularly disruptive ...


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