A Nevada prison inmate this week filed for a writ of habeas corpus in Carson District Court saying the Parole Board illegally reinstated one of his life sentences because he refused a deal agreeing not to sue the state if he was released.
Nolan Klein, 53, has served 19 years in prison on a jury conviction for sexually assaulting at knife point a woman employee at a Sparks shoe store. Throughout his prosecution and his time in prison, Klein has maintained he is innocent of the charges.
He took his case before U.S. District Judge Ed Reed two years ago saying the prison and parole board had illegally resurrected one of his life sentences in the case. Reed agreed with Klein that records show he was paroled on robbery, burglary and their matching deadly weapon enhancements in 1990 and 1992. He agreed the record showed Klein paroled in 1994 on the life sentence for sexual assault - leaving him only the deadly weapon enhancement sentence to serve.
But the prison and Parole Board changed the record to show Klein still serving the rape charge with the enhancement, also a life sentence, still pending.
Reed issued an order a year ago that conditionally granted Klein a writ of habeas corpus "unless within 90 days of entry of this order, respondents afford petitioner appropriate procedural due process with regard to any recision, revocation or correction of the 1990 and 1992 parole agreements and of the successive grant of parole to his second life sentence in February 1994."
The Parole Board's response was to hold another hearing during which it revised the terms of paroles granted to Klein in 1990, 1992 and 1994. As part of that order, the board ruled Klein was improperly granted parole on the rape charge because he hadn't served the minimum nine years. He once again had two life sentences between him and release.
Klein argued in his petition, now before Judge Todd Russell, that the reason for the board action was that he refused to sign off on a deal with the Nevada Attorney General's office which would have paroled him by February of this year if he agreed to drop all litigation against the state over his parole status.
A copy of that letter was filed with the petition and states: "As part of the resolution, Mr. Klein would have to agree that the conditions of the writ granted in the above-referenced matter have been satisfied and that he will not further litigate any issues regarding the grant or denial of parole. ..."
He charged that makes the Parole Board action reinstating his life sentence retaliation. His petition quotes Reed's order as saying, whether correctly or not, the paroles granted Klein in the 1990s "nonetheless created a protected liberty interest that the state may not take away without due process."
in addition, Klein argued, the board had no legal authority to reinstate, modify or do anything with sentences that have already expired and been discharged. Some 14 years after the original parole grants, he said, all those earlier sentences have expired.
Klein argued that the state has violated his due process rights. He said he was entitled to his first parole hearing on his final life sentence in October 2002 but, after the board's rewrite of his parole status, only became eligible for a hearing on his first life sentence this January.
He said the violations of his due process rights have resulted in "actual prejudice." He asked that the court grant him a writ of habeas corpus invalidating the Parole Board actions of last year and granting him immediate release from prison.
The state has not yet had the chance to respond to Klein's petition, which was filed Thursday.
• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.