Supreme Court holds two murder sentences

The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected challenges to two separate murder cases in Reno and Lyon County.

Both appeals were based on arguments that the defense lawyers didn't do their jobs properly.

In Brian Simmons' case, he said his trial lawyer failed to carefully investigate his claim neighbors should have heard something unusual the night that Jason Kopack was murdered. The high court panel consisting of Justices Deborah Agosti, Cliff Young and Myron Leavitt ruled that even if trial counsel didn't find and interview that neighbor, there's no evidence it would have changed the outcome of the trial.

In the case against William Edward Branham, the allegation was similar, that his lawyers failed to fully demand his rights including a coroner's inquest on the victim. He protested the jury instructions in the case and argued he was entitled to be sentenced by a jury instead of the court. A Supreme Court panel of Young, Agosti and Leavitt disagreed, ruling Branham was not deprived of effective counsel at trial and that the errors he cited were not substantive.


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