Court upholds Carson rape conviction
The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Carson jury’s 2008 conviction of Gerald Karpe on six counts of raping an 8-year-old boy.
District Judge Todd Russell imposed five consecutive life sentences on Karpe, each carrying a minimum 20 years in prison, and one concurrent life sentence with parole possible after 20 years.
That means Karpe, 44, would have to serve at least 100 years before he could get out of prison.
He maintained his innocence throughout the trial.
He appealed, accusing the state of improperly withholding evidence and misconduct during trial.
But the court found Karpe’s counsel was aware of the report in question but didn’t ask detailed questions about it or seek a continuance to investigate. As a result, the evidence potentially refuting testimony by one trial witness didn’t come to light until after the trial.
“Because Karpe did not seek to continue the trial in order to complete an investigation of this new information or take the available opportunity to cross-examine witnesses as to the information that he did possess at trial, we cannot conclude that Karpe was prejudiced,” the order states.
The high court panel of Ron Parraguirre, Michael Douglas and Kris Pickering also rejected claims of prosecutorial misconduct, saying the prosecutor’s remarks in closing arguments were a fair response to defense arguments.
The court also overturned the second-degree murder conviction of Arthur Smith, saying a Washoe District judge erred by not appointing a lawyer to represent him in his attempt to withdraw a guilty plea.
Smith said his motion to withdraw the plea was made because his lawyer used coercive tactics to obtain the plea and avoid a trial.
District Judge Robert Perry refused the request for a lawyer, refused to toss the guilty plea and convicted Smith of the murder.
The panel said a hearing on any motion to withdraw a plea is critical and the defendant has a right to conflict-free counsel for that hearing.
They threw out the conviction and ordered a lawyer appointed to handle Smith’s motion to withdraw his plea and go to trial.