Please call today to have these important Bills heard!

Please PRESS FOR A HEARING ON SB 279 (Independent Ombudsman)  and AB 401 (COURTS OF INQUIRY bill that would EXONERATE the Innocent). Please call your Legislators and/or Ira Hanson (see below) today to have these Bills heard.

SB279 – Extremely important for Human Rights (Independent Ombudsman) – PRESS FOR A HEARING ON THIS BILL!We need an independent Ombudsman in Nevada to go to for complaints about the many abuses people in Nevada’s prisons suffer. This would be an independent office, not run by NDOC.

And AB401:COURTS OF INQUIRY Bill to EXONERATE the Innocent.

PRESS FOR A HEARING ON THIS BILL!

Please call Ira Hansen, Assembly Judiciary Chairman’s office today: 775-684-8851,ask that they call his office and pass AB401.

See also ThinkProgress for an article about AB 401.

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…

Letter to the Editor about Members of the Pardons Board

From the Sparks Tribune (but not yet published online…) (click to see larger version).

Letter to the Editor, by Tonja Brown. December 27, 2009.

Dear Editor,
I’m writing this letter in an effort to bring to light the injustice that is being perpetrated by our public officials, four of whom are now up for re-election: Justices James Hardesty and Ron Parraguirre, Attorney General Masto and our governor, Jim Gibbons.

In May, Judge Brent Adams ordered Washoe County District Attorney, Dick Gammick to turn over the entire file in Mr. Nolan Klein’s case. On June 10, newly discovered evidence was found. On June 24, I appeared before the Nevada Pardons Board to bring it to their attention the acts within in the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office.

I presented to the Pardons Board dozens of documents, including the hand-written notes, that a former assistant district attorney made on our motion for discovery that he was not going to turn over any of the materiality or exculpatory evidence despite a 1988 court order to do so. The Pardons Board knew that this attorney violated Brady v. Maryland by withholding all of the materiality and exculpatory evidence that showed another person was responsible for the crime in which my innocent brother, Nolan Klein, was convicted of 21 years ago.

On Nov. 19, the Pardons Board knew that the assistant district attorney had defied a court order to turn over all of the evidence in the case. They also knew that the newly discovered evidence that was found in the file that would not only clear Mr. Klein of the crime but newly discovered evidence was found that supports Mr. Klein’s claims in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that our AG Masto is trying to get dismissed because of Mr. Klein’s recent death.

One would think that they would have placed Mr. Klein on the November’s Agenda for an exoneration, but, no they would rather cover up the acts of the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office for the last 21 years. How many more innocent people will die in prison because they want to condone the bad acts of officials under the color of law? Could your loved one be next? We need transparency in government not more cover-ups. We, the voters, need to be heard. We must send a message that we are not going to condone their actions and vote them out of office. For those of you who were considering running for office, here is your opportunity to make a difference.
Tonja Brown
Carson City