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City of Henderson v. Amado

Supreme Court of Nevada

June 22, 2017

CITY OF HENDERSON, Appellant,
v.
GIANO AMADO, A/K/A BRANDON WELCH, Respondent.

         Appeal from a district court order granting a petition for a writ of mandamus and/or writ of prohibition resulting in the dismissal of criminal complaints. Eighth Judicial District Court, Clark County; Kathleen E. Delaney, Judge.

          Josh M. Reid, City Attorney, and Laurie A. Iscan, Assistant City Attorney, Henderson, for Appellant.

          William B. Terry, Chartered, and William B. Terry, Las Vegas, for Respondent.

          BEFORE HARDESTY, PARRAGUIRRE and STIGLICH, JJ.

          OPINION

          HARDESTY, J.

         NRS 174.085(5)(b) permits a municipality's prosecuting attorney to seek the voluntary dismissal of a misdemeanor complaint before trial and "without prejudice to the right to file another complaint, unless the State of Nevada has previously filed a complaint against the defendant which was dismissed at the request of the prosecuting attorney." (Emphasis added.) Further, "[if] a prosecuting attorney files a subsequent complaint after a complaint concerning the same matter has been filed and dismissed against the defendant, " the case is required to be assigned to the same judge as the initial complaint. NRS 174.085(6)(a) (emphasis added).

         As a matter of first impression, we must determine whether the subsequent complaint filed by the prosecuting attorney may be filed in the same case number as the original complaint. We conclude that a plain reading of the statute permits the City of Henderson (City) to file a subsequent complaint in the original case. Accordingly, we conclude that the district court acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it determined that the City was required to file a new complaint with a new case number when it voluntarily dismissed complaints pursuant to NRS 174.085(5)(b), and reverse.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         After respondent Giano Amado had a physical altercation with his aunt and nephew, the City filed a criminal complaint against Amado, charging him with misdemeanor battery constituting domestic violence for pushing his aunt to the ground. Amado was arrested and posted a bail bond that same day. A criminal complaint was then filed in a separate case charging Amado with misdemeanor battery constituting domestic violence for grabbing, punching, or throwing his nephew to the ground. After the aunt and nephew repeatedly failed to appear for multiple trial dates, the City voluntarily dismissed both complaints without prejudice pursuant to NRS 174.085(5)(b).

         The day following the dismissal of the complaints, the City refiled the criminal complaints as "Amended Criminal Complaint [s]" using the same case numbers. Amado filed a motion to dismiss the amended criminal complaints in the municipal court, arguing that the City was required to file new criminal complaints using new case numbers. The municipal court denied the motion.

         Amado filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, or alternatively, a writ of prohibition in the district court raising the same claims regarding the amended criminal complaints. The district court granted the petition for a writ of prohibition and dismissed the amended complaints, finding that NRS 174.085(5)(b) required the City to file new complaints with new case numbers.

         DISCUSSION

         The district court acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it determined that the municipal court had violated NRS 174.085(5)(b) and dismissed the City's complaints

         "An arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion is one founded on prejudice or preference rather than on reason, or contrary to the evidence or established rules of law." State v. Eighth Judicial Dist. Court (Armstrong), 127 Nev. 927, 931-32, 267 P.3d 777, 780 (2011) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). "A manifest abuse of discretion is [a] clearly erroneous interpretation of the law or a clearly erroneous application of a ...


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