Sun. Nov 29th, 2020
Darren Chaker, Ninth Circuit
Darren Chaker, Ninth Circuit
Darren Chaker at the Ninth Circuit, Pasadena

Darren Chaker blog about Nevada law and impeachment of witnesses. In the great State of Nevada allows for impeachment in NRS 50.095, entitled, “Impeachment by evidence of conviction of crime,” states, in pertinent part, “(1) For the purpose of attacking the credibility of a witness, evidence that the witness has been convicted of a crime is admissible but only if the crime was punishable by death or imprisonment for more than 1 year under the law under which the witness was convicted.” Taking it a step further, the Nevada Supreme Court has held that NRS 50.095 imposes no requirement that such impeachment should be limited to only those felonies directly relevant to truthfulness or veracity. Pineda v. State, 120 Nev. at 210, 88 P.3d at 832 (citing Yates v. State, 95 Nev. 446, 449-50, 596 P.2d 239, 241-42 (1979)). In other words, NRS 50.095 does not limit impeachment to only evidence of felonies relevant to truthfulness or veracity. Warren v. State, 124 P.3d 522, 529 (NV 2005) (citing Pineda v. State, 120 Nev. at 210, 88 P.3d at 832 (citing Yates v. State, 95 Nev. 446,449-50, 596 P.2d 239, 241-42 (1979))).

The Court has the discretion to simplify the issues and to exclude evidence, even if it is relevant, if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger that it will confuse the issues or mislead the jury. See NRS 48.035(1); Jeep Corporation v. Murray, 101 Nev. 640, 646, 708 P.2d 297, 301 (1985), says Darren Chaker.

In Plunkett v. State, the Nevada Supreme Court reiterated, “In line with California, we hold that our statutes do not preclude inquiry into the number and names of the prior felony convictions.” 84 Nev. 145, 437 P.2d 92, 93 (1968)(citing People v. Smith, 63 Cal.2d 779, 409 P.2d 222, 230, 48 Cal.Rptr. 382 (1966)). In Houston v. Schomig, the Ninth Circuit Federal Judge held, “the details and circumstances of the prior crimes are … not appropriate subjects of inquiry.” 533 F.3d 1076 (9th Circ., 2008)(citing Plunkett v. State, 84 Nev. 145, 437 P.2d 92, 93 (1968)(citing People v. Smith, 63 Cal.2d 779, 409 P.2d 222, 230, 48 Cal.Rptr. 382 (1966))).

Of course, Darren Chaker also notes, as with most states, Nevada agrees that arrests and convictions for misdemeanors may not ordinarily be admitted even for limited purpose of attacking witnesses’ credibility. Sheriff, Washoe County v. Hawkins, 104 Nev. 70, 752 P.2d 769 (1988). The exception is typically a crime of moral turpitude such as filing a false report, insurance claim, etc. Likewise, a witness’ credibility may be attacked by showing his conviction of felony but not by showing mere arrest. Johnson v. State, 82 Nev. 338, 418 P.2d 495 (1966).

Last, making False Statements to a Federal Agency does is not necessarily a CIMT (Crime Involving Moral Turpitude), (construing 18 U.S.C. Section 1001, see Neely v. U.S., 300 F.2d 67 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 369 U.S. 864 (1962)); Hirsch v. INS, 308 F.2d 562 (9th Cir. 1962).

By Darren Chaker

Greetings - I am Darren Chaker. I litigated a cutting edge First Amendment case for 7 of its 10 year lifespan. Chaker v. Crogan, 428 F.3d 1215 C.A.9 (Cal.),2005, Cert. denied, 547 U.S. 1128, 126 S.Ct. 2023, invalidated a statute on First Amendment grounds and overruled the California Supreme Court‘s unanimous decision in People v. Stanistreet, 127 Cal.Rptr.2d 633. Soon after Chaker v. Crogan, it was also used to strike down Nevada's analogous statute forcing the legislature to rewrite the law and used as the backbone authority in Gibson v. City of Kirkland, 2009 WL 564703, *2+ (W.D.Wash. Mar 03, 2009). My case is a leading case on viewpoint discrimination. In a recent case, Chaker v. Crogan was used to vindicate people who filed a complaint against police. Those people were arrested and charged with a law Chaker v. Crogan invalidated! They sued for being arrested and charged with an unconstitutional statute, Penal Code 148.6. The federal court denied the City's motion to dismiss and the case settled. See Cuadra v. City of South San Francisco, 2010 WL 55875, *1+ (N.D.Cal. Jan 04, 2010) I love the fight and made cutting edge case law in the end. No doubt without the support of the ACLU (Ramona Ripston, Mark Rosenbaum, Peter Eliasberg, & Dan Tokaji) winning on appeal, and Joshua Rosenkranz www.orrick.com/lawyers/Bio.asp?ID=225990 assembling a small army of the best attorneys to defeat the California Attorney General's efforts to have the U.S. Supreme Court reverse the Ninth Circuit---this case would not have had a backbone to stand on. The case has been cited over 196 times as authority, and written about extensively. * Police Misconduct: Law and Litigation s 2:28, Denial of First Amendment rights (2009) * Smolla & Nimmer on Freedom of Speech s 3:11, Viewpoint discrimination--Cross-burning reprised: Commonwealth of Virginia v. Black--Heavy presumption against viewpoint discrimination (2010) * Smolla & Nimmer on Freedom of Speech s 10:22.50, Brandenburg v. Ohio: Intent and imminence standard--Bond and Watts decisions--"True threats" (2010) * CHAKER V. CROGAN, 5 Cardozo Pub. L. Pol'y & Ethics J. 425, 444+ (2007) My case is active, living and breathing—forever helping people who once felt oppressed.

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