State Supreme Court tosses one suit following inmate’s death

Nolan Klein’s sister says fight far from over
By Geoff Dornan
(email)
Article in: Nevada Appeal

The Nevada Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal because the inmate who filed it died Sept. 20.

Nolan Klein died of a blood disorder after serving more than 20 years on a rape conviction. He maintained throughout the trial and incarceration he was innocent.

His death, however, did not end two federal court civil actions that U.S. Magistrate Robert McQuaid ordered to go forward last week. Nor did it end his appeal in the 9th Circuit Court charging ineffective assistance of counsel during his original trial.

The state court action was filed after a district court rejected Klein’s complaint the Parole Board illegally reinstated a sentence he had already been paroled from. The high court dismissed the petition as moot following Klein’s death.

The first federal court action still moving forward charges Klein’s First Amendment rights to religious exercise were violated and that he was improperly denied necessary medical treatment for the blood disorder which his sister, Tonya Brown, says caused his death.

The other federal court action still in process seeks damages charging the state failed to give him a parole hearing state law entitles him to for more than a year.

The 9th Circuit appeal is being challenged by the Nevada Attorney General’s office as moot now that Klein has died. But Brown said if they can show counsel was ineffective, it effectively clears her brother’s conviction off the books.

Finally, she said, she may ask Washoe District Court to throw out the conviction because files she received from Washoe County in June include evidence pointing to the possibility someone else was the rapist in the case. That evidence, Brown said, was withheld 21 years in violation of an order that the Washoe DA turn over all evidence in the case to the defense.

She said Tuesday that the Pardons Board has also been asked to include Klein in its November agenda for exoneration based on that evidence.

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