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Defense attorneys back bill

CARSON CITY — Defense attorneys told legislators Wednesday that Nevada prosecutors, especially in Las Vegas, use grand juries to get a second “bite” at cases dismissed by judges.

“Here in Nevada the grand jury is being used to perpetuate abuses of government power,” said Dan Silverstein, a Clark County public defender. “A case that is dismissed for lack of probable cause in Justice Court has no business being taken to trial and should not be the subject of a grand jury indictment.”

Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, said prosecutors with weak cases should not get a second “bite at the apple” unless they have new evidence.

Horne, a defense lawyer who sponsored Assembly Bill 364, the bill to stop the practice, told the Senate Judiciary Committee that prosecutors should choose between a preliminary hearing or a grand jury indictment but not try both. His bill won approval in the Assembly last week in a 34-8 vote.

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