Nepotism case dismissal upheld

The Nevada Supreme Court has agreed with a lower court decision dismissing nepotism charges against a Community College of Southern Nevada administrator.

Orlando Sandoval was associate vice president of planning for the college when he was indicted on a gross misdemeanor charge of unlawfully employing a relative. The Attorney General's Office argued Sandoval was the main reason his father-in-law Duane received two promotions and several salary increases while working at the college.

But Sandoval's lawyers argued prosecutors were wrong to give grand jurors a copy of the college policy defining nepotism.

District Judge Donald Mosley agreed, saying grand jurors could have jumped to the conclusion that because Sandoval violated the college nepotism policy, he must have violated the state law prohibiting nepotism in public employment.

Mosley agreed with prosecutors that Sandoval was clearly responsible for the promotions and raises his father-in-law received. But he said violating the college policy doesn't necessarily mean he violated the law.

The high court this week agreed, saying the college policy was much easier to violate than the criminal statute. The Supreme Court order upheld dismissal of the grand jury indictment.

Mosley earlier, however, left open the possibility that the Attorney General's Office could take the case back before the grand jury and seek an indictment without confusing the college policy and the state law.

The gross misdemeanor charge of nepotism is punishable by up to one year in prison.


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