In a bill signing ceremony June 14, Governor Brian Sandoval said the creation of the Nevada Sentencing Commission will make Nevada’s criminal justice system fair and reduce sentencing inconsistency.
Chief Justice Michael A. Cherry, Justice James W. Hardesty, State Court Administrator Robin Sweet, and Deputy Court Administrator John McCormick joined Governor Sandoval for the signing.
The Nevada Sentencing Commission follows recommendations made by the Advisory Commission on the Administration of Justice led by Justice Hardesty.
In a review of sentencing practices, the Advisory Commission found a large gap in sentencing among Nevada judges. For instance, when looking at the same crime, some judges sentenced defendants to prison 30 percent of the time, while other judges sentence defendants more than 60 percent of the time.
This study led the Advisory Commission to ask the 2017 Legislature to create the Nevada Sentencing Commission to review sentencing practices in Nevada.
“The Sentencing Commission will recommend changes in the structure of sentencing to develop some consistency among the judges in this state,” Justice Hardesty said. “This effort also will aid the appellate courts in reviewing the reasoning a judge used in handing down a sentence.”
The Nevada Sentencing Commission is expected to propose statutory sentencing guidelines based on reasonable offense and offender traits. This includes reviewing the impact of pretrial, sentencing diversion, incarceration, and post-release supervision programs.
Finally, the Commission is expected to ask the 2019 Legislature to draft a bill incorporating any recommendations it makes involving sentencing in Nevada.