A Nevada judge halted the outgoing governor’s last-minute attempt to have all 57 Death Row prisoners’ sentences commuted because victim families were not properly notified as required by law, the Associated Press reports.
Then-Gov. Steve Sisolak recommended the state parole board, which includes the governor, grant commutations on Dec. 20. But District Court Judge James Wilson Jr. ruled that victim families were not notified.
“I think that is required to show the capital murder victim fairness and respect for his or her dignity,” Wilson said.
An emergency petition filed by Reno Republican District Attorney Chris Hicks prompted the ruling, the AP story reported.
Sisolak had hoped to reduce the sentences of all of the condemned inmates from death to life without the possibility of parole before Republican Joe Lombardo was sworn in as governor.
There hasn’t been an execution in the state of Nevada since 2006.
Longtime Las Vegas Public Defender Scott Coffee supports abolition of the death penalty and says the system in Nevada is irreparably broken and cannot be repaired.
“It’s been a false promise to victims for too long,” Coffee said. “To some extent, it’s lip service to tell them that there will be some kind of retribution for the death of their loved ones when the reality is that it just doesn’t happen.”