Agreeing with a district judge, the Nevada Supreme Court has barred the child-pornography evidence in a Lincoln County sex case.
The seven-member court agreed unanimously that the warrant to search Michael Kincade’s home and computer was improper because it didn’t include a statement of probable cause.
State statute requires that such a statement must either be in a warrant or attached to it.
The computer search was conducted as part of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office investigation of allegations Kincade was sexually abusing minors, according to the opinion.
After the search allegedly revealed images of children on Kincade’s computer, he was charged with seven counts of possession of child pornography.
He was charged separately with three counts of sexual assault involving a person under age 16.
County prosecutors argued a recent U.S. Supreme Court case requires only that a warrant say what place can be searched and does not require a finding of probable cause. The high court, however, ruled that nothing prohibits states from providing broader protections and rights than are provided by the U.S. Constitution. In this case, they ruled, Nevada law does just that.
Kincade is serving three life sentences for the sexual assault convictions as well various sentences for child-pornography convictions.
The Dec. 26 opinion only suppresses the evidence in the child-pornography case and doesn’t reverse the sexual assault convictions.