Geoff Dornan

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May 21, 2014
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High court reject lawyer plea for more time to prepare in death case

A Nevada Supreme Court panel has rejected the petition by lawyers seeking more time to prepare in a potential death case, saying that right belongs to the defendant, not to the lawyers.

Jeremiah Bean is accused of five murders in Fernley and Mustang — two senior couples and a newspaper deliveryman.

Lawyers Richard Davies and Ken Ward petitioned for more time before trial to prepare their case but were rejected because Bean asserted his right to a speedy trial.

The two lawyers appealed, arguing they need more preparation time to provide Bean with effective assistance during the trial.

But the high court panel in a 2-1 decision agreed with the district court ruling, saying the lawyers don’t have standing to pursue the petition because that right belongs solely to Bean.

Justice Michael Cherry dissented, saying Bean is forcing his lawyers to proceed to trial before they are properly prepared to defend him in a case where a death sentence is possible.

“By denying the petition, the majority is allowing a speedy trial to outweigh effective assistance,” Cherry wrote.

Cherry cited his “vast experience” as a public defender, court-appointed attorney, special defender and trial judge as convincing him Bean’s lawyers should have more time to adequately prepare.

He was overruled by Justices James Hardesty and Michael Douglas.

Bean is charged with the May 10, 2013, murders of Robert Pape, 84, and Dorothy Pape in Fernley, killing Angie Duff, 67, and Lester Lieber, 69, at a house around the corner and fatally shooting Eliazar Graham, 52, a newspaper deliveryman.

He faces five counts of murder and a total of 19 felony charges including arson for setting fire to the Pape house.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated May 21, 2014 12:19AM Published May 21, 2014 12:19AM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.