New Criminal Defense Services Come To Rural Nevada


A new study has suggested a new agency to cure the shortcomings of indigent criminals in rural Nevada. David Carroll, consultant to the Nevada Right to Counsel, published recently a 155-page report showing “systemic deficiencies” in the state’s criminal defense which. The variances differ widely from county to county.

For example, In Carson City and Storey County, the public defender system provides for poor persons whicharged with a crime. The office which gives representation to the rural poor “suffers from undue political influence and insufficient funding,” says the report.

Other counties have multiple structures. In some, the caseloads are excessive and the attorneys lack the service  of investigators. Mental health services in indigent, rural counties are lacking the the public defenders are required to use their own staffs to handle the cases. In some incidents, the indigent don’t even get a lawyer.

There is a lack of independent defense investigators in all but the most significant felony cases,” sad Carroll.

Money Talks

The commission talked for almost two hours on the formation of a state board. The commission members could not decide if the board should be regulatory or advisory. Carrol’s report also suggested the creation of a staff of lawyers, headed by an individual appointed by the governor.

“In this world, money talks,” said Nicholas Wooldridge, a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer.

The proposed board is to arrange for continuing education for defense of indigent detainees, establish a system so private attorneys get reimbursement and the public defenders will get salaries.

The commission also suggested the proposed board worth with state-resident law schools to determine incentives for attracting lawyers to work in indigent defense.

The commission is scheduled for another meeting before the end of 2018. They will review the final draft and prepare it for deliver to the state Legislature in Carson City. Following the Legislature’s review, there will be a meeting with the governor to discuss financina the board and staff.

The Takeaway

The Nevada Right to Counsel Commission talk about methods to deliver representation for low income criminal defendants in rural Nevada. They range from having local public defenders’ offices to hiring private lawyers