The Nevada Supreme Court has rejected petitions seeking to overturn convictions in three murder cases.
Jerry Emmanuel White and Michael Joseph Silva sought reversals in their cases on a number of similar grounds, including that their appellate counsel didn't raise certain issues. The court rejected the idea.
"Appellate counsel is not required to raise every non-frivolous issue on appeal in order to be effective," the court wrote in White's case. "To show prejudice, a petitioner must show that the omitted issue would have had a reasonable probability of success on appeal."
Justices Bob Rose, Bill Maupin and Michael Douglas made a similar statement in Silva's case.
Both men also challenged the "deadly weapon" enhancement used by prosecutors to double their prison sentences, saying there wasn't enough evidence to show the weapons used were deadly. The court disagreed, saying White's baseball bat and Silva's knife were deadly weapons.
White was convicted of first-degree murder with use of a deadly weapon and sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison without possible parole.
Silva was convicted of murder with use of a deadly weapon and sentenced to two consecutive life terms, but with possible parole.
In the third case, the court upheld the life sentence with possible parole imposed on Kevin Devon Sutton. He argued his lawyer was ineffective for not evaluating the effect of his PCP use on his ability to understand the consequences of pleading guilty.
The court ruled there is no evidence Sutton was unable to understand his plea and no evidence his lawyer was ineffective.