Court orders hearing in Reno death case
September 20, 2012
The Nevada Supreme Court has ordered an evidentiary hearing in the case of a man sentenced to die for the 1994 torture killing of his 3-year-old stepdaughter in Reno.
Carlos Gutierrez pleaded no contest to a murder charge and was sentenced to die by a three-judge Washoe County District Court panel. In ordering the evidentiary hearing, the majority opinion by the high court directed the trial court to address, among other things, the fact that Gutierrez was not informed of his right to assistance from the Mexican consulate in defending himself.
The International Court of Justice listed Gutierrez as one of the defendants whose rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations were violated by not providing him such assistance.
Justices also questioned the impact of the errors caused by an interpreter for the three-judge panel later convicted of having falsified his credentials during the panel’s death penalty hearing. Other interpreters during that hearing repeatedly challenged the court’s interpreter saying he was making mistakes.
The order was signed by five members of the court including Chief Justice Michael Cherry. Justices James Hardesty and Ron Parraguirre dissented, saying the petition from Gutierrez contains no added information that justifies an evidentiary hearing.
The case goes back to Washoe District Judge Jerry Polaha to determine whether Gutierrez is entitled to consideration of his petition.