Nevada Supreme Court orders new trial in attempted murder case
The Nevada Supreme Court has ordered a new trial for James Vincent Banks on attempted murder charges, ruling the district court made two reversible errors in the case.
The panel of Justices Jim Hardesty, Lidia Stiglich and Abbi Silver ruled that Banks was allowed to be his own lawyer but wasn’t told about the potential added penalties that would bring if he was ruled a habitual criminal.
They also objected that the jury wasn’t told the crime of attempted murder requires the specific intent to kill the victim.
To represent himself in a serious criminal case, the court ruled that the defendant must understand each crime charged including the possible penalties and total possible sentence if convicted.
It was a year after the charges that Clark County prosecutors filed notice they would seek to have him declared a habitual criminal.
The decision states that, even at that point, the district court failed to inform Banks of the potential penalty if he was ruled a habitual criminal.
“We conclude that the record as a whole does not demonstrate that Banks knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived his right to counsel,” the order states.
On the jury instruction, they ruled that attempted murder is, by definition, an act of express malice, “namely the deliberate intention to unlawfully kill.”
“Because it was not made clear to the jury that nothing less than a specific criminal intent to kill must be shown to establish the crime of attempted murder, we must reverse Banks’ judgment of conviction and remand for a new trial,” the order concludes.