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Amezcua v. Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada

Supreme Court of Nevada

February 13, 2014

SERGIO AMEZCUA, Petitioner,
v.
THE EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF CLARK; AND THE HONORABLE ROB BARE, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondents, and THE STATE OF NEVADA, Real Party in Interest

Petition for certiorari filed at, 04/17/2014

Original petition for a writ of mandamus or habeas corpus challenging a district court order affirming a judgment of conviction and denial of a motion for new trial.

Petition denied.

The Pariente Law Firm, P.C., and Michael D. Pariente, Las Vegas, for Petitioner.

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

BEFORE GIBBONS, C.J., and DOUGLAS and SAITTA, JJ.

OPINION

Page 603

PER CURIAM:

The right to a jury trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution depends on whether an offense is " petty" or " serious." In this original proceeding, we consider whether certain collateral consequences of a conviction for first-offense domestic battery, such as an evidentiary presumption in child custody and dependency actions, limitations on the right to possess a firearm, and possible deportation, make it a serious offense for which a defendant is entitled to a jury trial. We conclude that petitioner Sergio Amezcua has not demonstrated that first-offense domestic battery is a serious offense. He therefore was not entitled to a jury trial on the misdemeanor charge of domestic battery.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Amezcua was charged with first-offense battery constituting domestic violence in justice court. He filed a timely notice for jury trial pursuant to NRS 175.011(2). The justice court denied the motion. Amezcua subsequently filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the district court, which was denied. He unsuccessfully challenged the district court's denial of that writ petition in a petition for a writ of mandamus or habeas corpus filed in this court. See Amezcua v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court, Docket No. 59868, (Order Denying Petition, February 9, 2012). Thereafter, Amezcua was convicted of the charged offense in the justice court. On appeal, the district court affirmed the judgment of conviction. This petition for extraordinary relief followed.

DISCUSSION

A writ of mandamus may issue to compel the performance of an act which the law requires " as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station," NRS 34.160, or to control an arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion, see Round Hill Gen. Improvement Dist. v. Newman, 97 Nev. 601, 603-04, 637 P.2d 534, 536 (1981). The writ will not issue, however, if a petitioner has a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of the law. NRS 34.170. Here, Amezcua had a plain, speedy, and adequate remedy at law to address his claim. He appealed his conviction to the district court, which enjoys final appellate jurisdiction in cases arising from justice court, Nev. Const. art. 6, § 1, and raised the claim that the justice court erred in denying his request for a jury trial. He may not seek writ relief merely because he disagrees with the district court's determination. See Hosier v. State, 121 Nev. 409, 412, 117 P.3d 212, 213 (2005) (declining to exercise original jurisdiction over petition for extraordinary relief challenging the validity of a judgment of conviction); State v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court (Riker), 121 Nev. 225, 231, 112 P.3d 1070, 1074 (2005) (noting that the purpose of the writ is not to correct lower-court decisions that may be error). As a general rule, we will not entertain a writ petition that requests review of a district court decision when that court is acting in its appellate capacity unless the petitioner demonstrates that " the district court has improperly refused to exercise its ...


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