Parole revocation overturned by high court

The Nevada Supreme Court says a Las Vegas judge was wrong in ordering a man back to jail without his lawyer at a hearing.

John Gay Harris was on probation after being convicted of grand larceny when he was arrested for a possible violation of his release conditions.

At Harris' probation revocation hearing, Clark County District Judge Jeffrey Sobel first suggested Harris stipulate to the probation violation because his lawyer wasn't at the hearing.

Harris "was not informed of the potential consequences he faced by stipulating to the probation violations," according to the Supreme Court opinion.

The high court panel of justices Bill Maupin, Miriam Shearing and Nancy Becker also said the offer to stipulate was improper and that there is no evidence Harris was asked to participate in a bench conference during the hearing. Normally, his lawyer would participate in that conference.

Harris' lawyer appealed the revocation on those grounds, arguing his client's rights were violated.

The high court agreed.

"In light of the fact that the revocation of appellant's probation was based upon the stipulation he made without his counsel being present, we conclude that the district court erred in revoking appellant's probation."

The order was sent back to district court for a full hearing on whether Harris should go back to jail.

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