High court affirms justice court powers over felony case

Ruling that justice courts do have authority to dismiss a felony charge, the Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday turned the question of whether to prosecute a Californian charged with stalking a Lyon County woman over to justice court.

James Koller at one time had a romantic relationship with the woman. He was accused of repeatedly visiting her in Lyon County. He was charged, convicted and sentenced for the violations by a California court.

But the Lyon County District Attorney's Office filed its own charges against him for the same violations. Koller and his lawyer moved to dismiss the Nevada charges arguing they are barred by Nevada law because he was already tried and convicted for the violations in California.

They also argued the charges violate the Interstate Agreement on Detainers, which allows for disposition of out of state charges in such cases.

Lyon County prosecutors instead filed for a writ of prohibition to block the justice court from considering dismissal. They argued the justice court didn't have the authority to dismiss a felony action and the district court agreed.

Koller appealed and the high court Thursday ruled the justice court does have the power to dismiss a felony charge. They vacated the district court ruling, sending the case back to justice court for hearings on the substance of Koller's motions to dismiss.

The opinion by Justice Michael Douglas was also signed by Justices Ron Parraguirre and Nancy Becker.

-- Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.


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