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Solid v. Eighth Judicial District Court of State

Supreme Court of Nevada

April 27, 2017

MICHAEL SOLID, Petitioner,
v.
THE EIGHTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA, IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF CLARK; AND THE HONORABLE VALERIE ADAIR, DISTRICT JUDGE, Respondents, and MY ENTERTAINMENT TV; AND THE STATE OF NEVADA, Real Parties in Interest.

         Original petition for a writ of mandamus or prohibition challenging a district court order allowing filming of petitioner's criminal trial by real party in interest My Entertainment TV.

          David M. Schieck, Special Public Defender, and Robert Arroyo, Randall H. Pike, and JoNell Thomas, Deputy Special Public Defenders, Clark County, for Petitioner.

          Adam Paul Laxalt, Attorney General, Carson City; Steven B. Wolfson, ! District Attorney, Steven S. Owens, Chief Deputy District Attorney, and Agnes M. Lexis, Deputy District Attorney, Clark County, for Real Party in Interest the State of Nevada.

          Greenberg Traurig, LLP, and Tami D. Cowden, Mark G. Tratos, and Lisa J. Zastrow, Las Vegas, for Real Party in Interest My Entertainment TV.

          Law Office of Lisa Rasmussen and Lisa A. Rasmussen, Las Vegas, for Amicus Curiae Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice.

          BEFORE THE COURT EN BANC.

          OPINION

          GIBBONS, J.

         In this petition, we are asked to interpret Supreme Court Rules governing media in the courtroom. The writ petition arises from My Entertainment TV (MET) filming petitioner Michael Solid's first-degree murder trial for use in the television show Las Vegas Law. Solid contends that (1) MET is not a "news reporter" under these rules; (2) MET's footage will not be used for solely educational or informational purposes, but may instead be used for unrelated advertising purposes; (3) the district court erred by allowing MET to film the trial; and (4) the terms of MET's television series agreement with the Clark County District Attorney require the Special Public Defenders assigned to Solid's case to give written consent to allow filming.

         We conclude that (1) MET is a "news reporter" under Supreme Court Rule (SCR) 229, (2) MET is using the footage for educational or informational purposes pursuant to SCR 241, (3) the district court did not err in allowing MET to film Solid's trial under SCR 230, and (4) the television series agreement does not require the consent of Solid's trial counsel. For these reasons, we deny Solid's writ petition.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Television series agreement

         MET films and produces Las Vegas Law, a television "docudrama" focused on the Clark County District Attorney's Office. MET and Clark County signed a television series agreement allowing MET to film and produce the show.

          In relevant part, the television series agreement provides:

[Clark] County agrees to allow [MET] to enter the [Clark County District Attorney's Office] with personnel and equipment... for the purpose of. . . [conducting] ("Filming Activity") in connection with [Las Vegas Law] ....

Additionally,

[i]n regards to Filming Activity directly involving County personnel, County facilities and County property, [MET] agrees that:
(i) Whether a County employee is to be recorded, filmed, taped or photographed is a personal decision of each individual County employee. All Filming Activity of County employees will be undertaken only with each individual employee's written consent....

         Filming of Solid's trial

         Prior to jury selection, MET filed a media request to film Solid's trial. The district court granted the request. Solid then ...


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