Nevada Has An Innovative Idea For How To Right Wrongful Convictions

This comes from ThinkProgress, with thanks to Tonja Brown:

on April 2, 2015

Nolan Klein spent the last 21 years of his life in prison on a life sentence that he never stopped fighting.

Klein claimed a witness misidentified him in a photo lineup and he had nothing to do with the 1988 robbery and sexual assault that occurred in a Payless shoe store in Sparks, Nevada. His sister has continued advocating for his innocence, even after his death.

Courts have denied him a posthumous exoneration, but lawmakers in Nevada introduced legislation with bipartisan support last week which would have helped Klein fight his wrongful conviction and could grant an exoneration after his death, his sister, Tonja Brown, told ThinkProgress. The bill, AB 401, would make Nevada the second state in the nation to allow the creation of separate courts that would re-examine possible wrongful convictions.

“If this bill existed, Nolan Klein and others like him could have their cases heard,” said Brown, who also wrote about her story in an exhibit attached to AB 401. “It would allow all evidence that was not presented at trial that may have been hidden from the defense, newly discovered evidence that was overlooked, DNA evidence to be tested and witnesses that were never investigated.”

To date, there have been 329 people exonerated by DNA testing in the United States, with the average exoneree serving 14 years in prison. Since 2003, prisoners in Nevada can petition the court for DNA testing, but creating a separate court would allow judges to examine all of the available evidence and other information that may have been withheld in the original trial that convicted an innocent person.

The jury in Klein’s case was only shown around 20 exhibits — a small portion of the evidence that was available to the defense counsel, Brown said.

Read the rest here…

Lawless America Movie Interview: Tonya Frances Brown for Nolan Klein in Carson City, Nevada

Please watch this powerful and enraging video featuring Tonja Brown, Nolan Klein’s sister, who fought and still fights hard to battle injustice done to her brother and also to fight for basic human rights of others still inside.
On Sept. 20th, please remember Nolan Klein, an innocent man who died in 2009 on that day, while still in prison, all because evidence that could have exonerated him, lay hidden and was never presented by the prosecution.

Lawless America Movie Interview: Tonya Frances Brown for Nolan Klein in Carson City, Nevada.

Nolan Klein is dead. He died in the Nevada State Prison. He was wrongfully convicted. He spent 20 years in prison and died there, an innocent man.

Nolan Klein wrote a letter expressing his feelings about the corruption that he experienced. Nolan Klein speaks to us from Heaven through his sister, Tonja Frances Brown.

Lawless America…The Movie is all about exposing the fact that we now live in Lawless America. We no longer have laws that are enforced because judges do whatever they want to do. America has also become lawless because government officials are dishonest and/or corrupt.

The movie will expose corruption in every state. The Movie will focus on victims. Corrupt judges and corrupt government officials will be exposed, and we will confront a number of the crooks.

If anyone has ever questioned the story of a person who has expressed the view that they were a victim of the government or of judges, this movie will prove that the odds are that the corruption report was true. In fact, there are probably tens of millions of victims in the United States who never realized what happened to them.

One feature length documentary movie is being produced. It will be shown in theaters, on Netflix, Blockbuster, and other such video places, and the movie will be presented at the Sundance Film Festival and other film festivals.

In addition, videos will be produced for each state and for each type of corruption. Everyone who is interviewed for the film will record a three-minute segment that will be done as testimony before Congress as well as a 30-60 minute on-camera interview with Bill Windsor, founder of and GRIP, and candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislators in each state will receive the testimony from those in their state, and the members of the U.S. House and Senate will receive all of the testimony nationwide.

Over 750 people are already scheduled to be interviewed for the movie.

For more information, see and

Audit Seeks Answers about Prison Sentences in Nevada

From: MyNews4, Reported by Joe Hart, on July 16th to 18th, 2012:

Prison officials first told News Four in March there was no need to track possible computer mistakes that may be keeping inmates locked up longer than they should be.

“Some people would probably say yes but what’s the point of tracking them as long as you fix them ?”  Steve Suwe told us at the time. Suwe is the public information officer for the Nevada Department of Corrections.
But state lawmakers have a different view.  Now, the Department of Corrections is facing its first ever audit to find out whether a computer glitch may be adding false charges to inmates records.

State Assemblyman William Horne, who chairs the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice called for the audit after questioning prison officials about the issue.

“We need to find out whether this is actually happening and if so, we need to correct it,” Horne told News 4.
The issue dates back to 2007  when the Department of Corrections switched over to a new computer system.  Prison officials told us the new system got tripped up when calculating certain types of sentences, 
especially those with indefinite terms such as ten years to life.

 News four obtained a copy of a deposition from a lawsuit filed on behalf of former inmate Nolan Klein.
Former warden and deputy director at NDOC Don Helling testified in his deposition last year that quote  “All of the old data was flipped over into the new information system and when the information was flipped, errors occurred.”

But prison officials say even if errors did happen they were caught and corrected.  They insist no inmate has ever served extra time because of a computer mistake.

“We haven’t found one case where the computer has added a sentence,” said Rex Reed, who oversees inmate management for the Nevada Department of Corrections.

But state lawmakers say they’re aren’t satisfied with the answers they have received from the Department of Corrections. In fact in his letter to the Legislative Counsel Bureau dated June 14th, Assemblyman Horne wrote:  “I have not received any satisfactory answers.”

 Horne’s letter asks the audit division to find out:

-whether any errors showed up on inmates records as a result of the computer switchover in 2007.
-whether any errors turned up on records reported to the parole board.
-how the department of corrections resolves complaints about inmate records.
-and whether changes are needed to improve the d-o-c’s computerized offender tracking system.

Horne says the audit could be just the first step.

Read the rest here:

Carson City Woman Counting on Prison Audit for Answers

From: MyNews4, reported by Joe Hart, on July 16-18th, 2012

Tonja Brown of Carson City says a computer glitch is the reason her brother Nolan Klein died in prison.
 Klein was convicted of rape in 1988 and served 21 years.  He died while serving time at the age of 54.
  But Brown— who recently won a $50,000 settlement from the state after claiming her brother received inadequate medical care in prison, says Nolan should have been released.  She says a computer glitch kept him from getting paroled.

“Because the day before  the computer glitch  went into effect we had it in writing by the attorney general he was not a threat to society,” Brown told News 4.

In fact a letter, dated june 4 of 2007, from Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto recommended that quote “Klein be afforded parole at the earliest parole eligibility dates.”

But the very next month in July of 2007,  Klein was denied parole.  At the time the parole board was not required to give a reason for its actions.   But a copy of Klein’s record shows two felony convictions dated June 5 of 2007.   The month before Klein came up for parole and the same month the department of corrections switched over to a new computer system.   Brown says a computer glitch was to blame since her brother was — in prison — in June of 2007.

“Clearly he did not commit a crime in June of 2007,” Brown said.

But prison officials insist no inmate has been impacted by a computer glitch.

So we asked Rex Reed, head of the offender management division for the prison system to explain how these new charges showed up on Klein’s record in 2007.
“That was one of those instances where the date was changed from the from the actual that the crime occurred and was stamped with the date of the new computer system,” Reed told News 4.

Read the rest here:

Audit of Nevada Prison Sentences underway

From: CarsonNow on 16th July 2012

Tonja Brown of Carson City says a computer glitch is the reason her brother Nolan Klein died in prison.
But Brown — who recently won a $50,000 settlement from the state after claiming her brother received inadequate medical care in prison — says Nolan should have been released. She says a computer glitch kept him from getting paroled.

Protest against the Attorney General of Nevada’s Office

Tonja Brown:
We protested against the Attorney General’s Office for withholding evidence in cases.
The actual banner is 4′ x 130′.

Press release about the action:

I will be joining Ty Robben along with others for a protest at the Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday at noon. Due to the investigative reporting by Joe Hart and Geoff Dornan regarding the computer glitch that has caused inmates to have false felony charges placed in their files, the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice has called for an examination into computer glitch.

What the Advisory Commission does not know is how the Attorney General’s Office is, in part, responsible for the denials in at least one former inmate, Nolan Klein’s Parole and a Pardon, because, their office withheld exculpatory evidence from Mr. Klein and the federal court in the 2005 case of Klein v Helling. These Brady violations by the Attorney General’s Office and being compounded by the computer glitch resulted in Mr. Klein’s Paroles, a Pardon, his freedom and his fife.

I anxiously await the results from the Examination that was order by Assemblyman Horne on March 7, 2012. On April 17, 2012 I will turn over the exculpatory evidence and show the Commission the irreparable harm this has caused Mr. Klein and his family.

The Brady violations by the Attorney General’s Office has placed the intregity of the Attorney General’s Office in question. I have asked the Governor to contact the the United States Justice Department to investigation the Atttorney General’s Office for civil rights violations.

Tonja Brown

Read it in the Nevada Appeal (subscription is needed)…

See further: New Blog about State employees

Tonja Brown to Prison Commissioners: why are you trying to silence me and evidence in Public Records?

From Tonja Brown, per email of Dec 9th 2011:

To be placed on the Record of the Board of Prison Commissioners hearing set for December 5, 2011.

Tonja Brown, Advocate for the inmates and Advocate for the INNOCENT.
As an Advocate for several years I have witnessed the abuse of retaliatory behavior, discrimination, illegal acts committed and Slanderous statements made by NDOC as well as other State Agencies.

Recently during the Discovery Process in the litigation in Tonja Brown v Skolnik, et al., Case No. 157:10-cv-00679-ECR-VPC exculpatory evidence has now seen the light and it has had a profound impact on my Constitutional Rights as well as other inmates Constitutional Rights.

Because of this newly discovered evidence that had been withheld from Nolan Klein, inmates, and myself it now raises concerns and an investigation must be conducted by an outside Agency into the NDOC, Attorney General’s Office, and the Inspector General’s Office.

Governor Sandoval, I am requesting that you ask for an outside Investigation into the Attorney General’s Office for Constitutional violations eg. withholding exculpatory evidence aka BRADY VIOLATIONS. It is apparent that the Attorney General cannot conduct any kind of an investigation into her own office because it would be a conflict of Interest.

I am demanding a letter of apology from NDOC, the Inspector General’s Office, and the AG’s Office. attached letters from Fred Huston, and Docs. NDOC 03811, 03854, 03855, 03856, 03857, 03935, 03911, 03912, 03935,

I am asking that this Board of Prison Commissioners file a complaint with the State Bar of Nevada against certain D.A.G.’s, William Geddes, Janet Traut for what I believe to be violations of the inmates Constitutional Rights and private citizen’s.

For example Documents H & H 1084- 1089 a 2008 LETTER TO JANET E TRAUT, Senior Deputy AG, from NDOC Rev. Dr. Jane Foraker-Thompson regarding inmates Michael Spencer’s and his suit.

Michael Spencer v Glen Whorton, et al USDC Case No 3:07-cv-00635-LHR-VPC. This letter details the NDOC’s discriminatory and retaliatory acts made against certain Earth Based religions, aka Wiccans. Did Mr. Spencer ever receive this letter to be used to benefit his case? Or was it never turned over? He now has it on appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In Don Helling’s August 5, 2011 deposition in Tonja Brown v Skolnik, et Case No. 157:10-cv-00679-ECR-VPC pages 91 – 93, states that in 2007 “We converted over to a new system in ’07, July of 07, which means all of the old data was flipped over into the new information system and whe the information was flipped, and that –that errors occurred.”

It appears that in 2007 inmate(s) had false felony charges placed on their OFFENDER INFORMATION SUMMARY AND THEY ARE NOT AWARE OF IT. There are other pages that refer to this problem too.

Then I refer you to inmate Joe Carpino’s 2011 letter. In June the AG’s office turned over some of the Discovery which clearly shows that 2005 Mr. Nolan Klein’s GANG AFFILICATION is WICCAN This is referred to in the August 5, 2011 Deposition of Don Helling pg 156, NDOC 001642.

Tonja Brown v Skolnik, et Case No. 157:10-cv-00679-ECR-VPC

It is apparent that the Settlement Agreement in Klein v Helling 05-390 case was in non compliance, because, in 2009 he filed suit again in Klein v Corda Case No 3:09-cv-00387-LRH-RAM. One has to question that if this case was really settled then why was he taking it back in 2009, and why is the AR 810 still listed as a TEMPORARY AR? Don Helling’s deposition will become a part of the record.

You have NDOC illegally listening in on legal phone calls between inmates and their attorneys going back from the 1990’s through 2009 at least at 2- 3 Institutions.

2008 Case Don Evans, John Witerow, v NDOC ?? Interrogatories of Don Helling and Howard Skolnik.

July 29, 2011 Reports and Recommendation in the case. This case clearly shows that the Law office of Hager and Hearne were being illegally listened in on in Witherow when he would call the office of Hager and Hearne. This is now in Settlement negotiations. It should be noted that Nolan Klein was one of those whom NDOC illegally was listening in on it was documented and he received a letter of apology in 2004.

Tonja Brown v Skolnik, et Case No. 157:10-cv-00679-ECR-VPC Deposition of Don Helling page 148, and Deposition of Howard Skolnik August 12, 2011 page 71-72 refers to John Witherow, Don Evans case.

The ongoing of illegally opening up of legal mail. Documented and should be be placed on the record for the Board of Prison Commissioners December, 5, 2011 meeting, Letter from Joe Carpino and from attorney Travis Barrick. Mention of Wiccans and opening up legal mail.

Below: These Documents are a PUBLIC RECORD IN THE TONJA BROWN v SKOLNIK CASE. AND YES I CAN PRESENT THESE DOCUMENTS TO THE BOARD. These are NOT CONFIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS AS D.A.G. GEDDES HAS PUT ON THESE DOCUMENTS. There was no court Order to authorize this as a Confidential Document. Mr. Geddes was silencing my voice, my first amendment to clear my name. Everything that exonerated us from these slanderous accusations. They withheld the documentation that cleared us thereby violating Brady material, and unlawful prosecution.

Don Helling’s deposition page 173. WHAT IS EXTREMELY CRUCIAL HERE IS ON PAGE 173 WHAT Mr. GEDDES SAID. Attached.

This is a prime example how the inmates have been treated unfairly over the years, because, not only did they do this to Nolan Klein, an innocent man they did this to a me, a private citizen in order to silence me from reporting the abuse within the system.

This exculpatory evidence was withheld from Mr. Klein, and myself and several other state and federal agencies. NDOC continued to keep the false, aka lies in their files knowing that we had been cleared of any wrong-doings. They continued to spread around these Slanderous investigative reports instead of removing the information that they knew was not true. They have continued to Slander, defamation of character of our names.

The State of Nevada has caused me to become physically ill and emotionally distressed from these false accusations.

Tonja Brown v Skolnik, et Case No. 157:10-cv-00679-ECR-VPC NDOC 00028 – 00036, 03811, 03854, 03855, 03856, 03857, 03935, 03911, 03912, 03935, AUGUST 5, 2011 Deposition of Don Helling to be placed on the record.


Tonja Brown
2907 Lukens Lane
Carson City, NV 89706

This is only a portion of the violations that come to my mind in the case of Tonja Brown v Skolnik, Klein v Helling, Michael Spencer v Glen Whorton, et al USDC Case No 3:07-cv-00635-LHR-VPC. Religious issues
Don Evans, John Witherow v NDOC, phone calls.

NRS 199.210
Offering false evidence. A person who, upon any trial, hearing, inquiry, investigation or other proceeding authorized by law, offers or procures to be offered in evidence, as genuine, any book, paper, document, record or other instrument in writing, knowing the same to have been forged or fraudulently altered, is guilty of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

[1911 C&P § 92; RL § 6357; NCL § 10041]—(NRS A 1971, 150; 1979, 1421; 1995, 1175)

NRS 199.230
Preventing or dissuading person from testifying or producing evidence. A person who, by persuasion, force, threat, intimidation, deception or otherwise, and with the intent to obstruct the course of justice, prevents or attempts to prevent another person from appearing before any court, or person authorized to subpoena witnesses, as a witness in any action, investigation or other official proceeding, or causes or induces another person to be absent from such a proceeding or evade the process which requires the person to appear as a witness to testify or produce a record, document or other object, shall be punished:

1. Where physical force or the immediate threat of physical force is used, for a category D felony as provided in NRS 193.130.

2. Where no physical force or immediate threat of physical force is used, for a gross misdemeanor.
[1911 C&P § 94; RL § 6359; NCL § 10043]—(NRS A 1967, 465; 1979, 1421; 1983, 1683; 1995, 1175)

NRS 199.150
Attempt to suborn perjury. Every person who, without giving, offering or promising a bribe, shall incite or attempt to procure another to commit perjury, or to offer any false evidence, or to withhold true testimony, though no perjury be committed or false evidence offered or true testimony withheld, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
[1911 C&P § 86; RL § 6351; NCL § 10035]

NRS 199.480 Penalties.
1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, whenever two or more persons conspire to commit murder, robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping in the first or second degree, arson in the first or second degree, or a violation of NRS 205.463, each person is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished:

(a) If the conspiracy was to commit robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping in the first or second degree, arson in the first or second degree, or a violation of NRS 205.463, by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 6 years; or

(b) If the conspiracy was to commit murder, by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 2 years and a maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $5,000.

2. If the conspiracy subjects the conspirators to criminal liability under NRS 207.400, they shall be punished in the manner provided in NRS 207.400.

3. Whenever two or more persons conspire:
(a) To commit any crime other than those set forth in subsections 1 and 2, and no punishment is otherwise prescribed by law;
(b) Falsely and maliciously to procure another to be arrested or proceeded against for a crime;
(c) Falsely to institute or maintain any action or proceeding;
(d) To cheat or defraud another out of any property by unlawful or fraudulent means;
(e) To prevent another from exercising any lawful trade or calling, or from doing any other lawful act, by force, threats or intimidation, or by interfering or threatening to interfere with any tools, implements or property belonging to or used by another, or with the use or employment thereof;
(f) To commit any act injurious to the public health, public morals, trade or commerce, or for the perversion or corruption of public justice or the due administration of the law; or
(g) To accomplish any criminal or unlawful purpose, or to accomplish a purpose, not in itself criminal or unlawful, by criminal or unlawful means, each person is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
[1911 C&P § 112; RL § 6377; NCL § 10061]—(NRS A 1975, 509; 1977, 1416, 1631; 1979, 1424; 1983, 1494; 1995, 1179; 1999, 1343)

Note: because the document is in PDF format and we cannot reproduce it, nor do we have a link to it, we can however copy-paste Page 1, p. 91-93 and 230-232, plus the last one, p. 237 (of 237) here. For a PDF of this document, please contact Tonja Brown. This should also be available in the Minutes of the Board of State Prison Commissioners of December 5th, 2011.

[page 1]
3 oOo
5 Administratrix of the
Estate of Nolan Klein and
6 TONJA BROWN, as an
vs. CASE NO. 3:10-CV-00679
SKOLNIK, Director of the
11 Department of Corrections,
12 Defendants.
18 Friday, August 5, 2011
19 Reno, Nevada
25 CCR #469 (NV) – CSR #3361 (CA)
P. 91-93, about false information in prisoners’ I-files:

1 number 28, specifically towards the top of the page the
2 second title portion where it says “prior felony
3 convictions/holds and detainers”?
4 A Yes.
5 Q Was Nolan Klein convicted of battery with intent
6 to commit a crime in June 2007?
7 A That’s what it appears to say on this report.
8 Q And so in this summary here it would reflect
9 somewhere in the narrative connected to that date how he
10 came to be convicted of that crime while he was in
11 custody at NDOC; right?
12 MR. GEDDES: Foundation, assumes facts not in
13 evidence.
15 Q This is the Offender Information Summary —
16 A Right.
17 Q — that you brought with you today and that the
18 attorney for the Nevada Department of Corrections has had
19 Bates numbered and produced in this case that relates to
20 Nolan Klein; correct?
21 A Correct.
22 Q Could you direct my attention in that document,
23 sir, to where it says that Mr. Klein was convicted of
24 either battery with intent to commit a crime, or the next
25 entry there, burglary, on June 5th, 2007 while in custody

Brown v. State of Nevada Don Helling Page 92
Bonanza Reporting – Reno (775) 786-7655 1111 Forest Street Reno, NV 89509

p. 92
1 of the Nevada Department of Corrections?
2 MR. GEDDES: Same objections.
3 THE WITNESS: In reviewing the case notes of
4 2007 there is no indication of any type of conviction in
5 that year.
7 Q So can you explain to me, then, as the then
8 Deputy Director of the Nevada Department of Corrections,
9 how these two entries here reflecting either a felony
10 conviction, hold and detainer for two felonies of Nolan
11 Klein as indicated on this Offender Information Summary?
12 MR. GEDDES: Objection, foundation, may call
13 for — calls for speculation.
14 THE WITNESS: I can only speculate how it
15 occurred.
17 Q What is your best understanding of why it would
18 be there?
19 MR. GEDDES: Same objections.
20 THE WITNESS: Speculating, we converted over to
21 a new system in ’07, July of ’07, which means all the old
22 data was flipped over into the new information system and
23 when the information was flipped, and that — that errors
24 occurred. And that’s just speculation.

Brown v. State of Nevada Don Helling Page 93
Bonanza Reporting – Reno (775) 786-7655 1111 Forest Street Reno, NV 89509

1 Q Is this the first time anybody has ever pointed
2 out to you that there are false representations in Mr.
3 Klein’s Offender Information Summary regarding an alleged
4 criminal history while he was in custody at NDOC?
5 MR. GEDDES: Objection, foundation, assumes
6 facts not in evidence.
7 THE WITNESS: The first I recall.
9 Q So it’s news to you?
10 MR. GEDDES: Same objections.
12 Q Is that correct?
13 A As I recall.
14 (Whereupon Plaintiff’s Exhibit 8
15 was marked for identification.)
17 Q You testified earlier about a settlement
18 agreement in a medical case in which, in essence, the
19 NDOC agreed to provide medical treatment to Mr. Klein in
20 addition to some other things; do you recall that?
21 MR. GEDDES: Objection.
22 THE WITNESS: Well, I would defer to what the
23 settlement —

Here are screenshots (click on them to enlarge them). People you can contact Tonja (see her address above) if you want the full document.