|If a misdemeanor battery conviction under Nevada law now also means automatic loss, under federal law, of Second Amendment firearm rights, should someone so charged be entitled to a jury trial?|
was the question put by an Elko attorney last week to
Elko Justice of the Peace Molly Leddy.
The JP answered 'no,' denying a request for a jury trial for James Daniel Stevenson.
Stevenson's attorney, Mark Torvinen, had argued Leddy could approve the request based on the severity of the federal law, which strips away a right normally taken only from felons, illegal drug users, mental defectives, illegal aliens, and those dishonorably discharged from military service or who renounce their U.S. citizenship.
"I made this motion in earnest to challenge you, not personally, but judicially, to do what your oath meant," Torvinen said to Leddy. "What I suggest to you is that domestic battery is unlike any other misdemeanor because the Congress of the United States has made this offense unique."
Congress enacted the law in U.S. Code Title 28, making a person ineligible to possess a firearm upon the conviction of battery against a spouse, relative or live-in partner. The law also applies to convictions before the law went into effect and forever prohibits owning a weapon.
Deputy District Attorney Roger
Harada argued that the
acts of Congress were irrelevant in the court's
consideration of whether the Nevada Legislature
considered the crime so serious as to trigger Sixth
Amendment jury rights.
must look at Nevada law and not what another jurisdiction
will do. The Legislature here did not pack this law with
onerous penalties -- Congress did."
This story was based on an Elko Daily Free Press report.
§ § §
Want to share your opinion? Electric Nevada's comment page is open!
Back to Electric Nevada's Front Page