On April 13, 2021, the Nevada State Assembly voted along party lines (26-16) to approve AB 395, a bill that would abolish the state’s death penalty and resentence prisoners currently on death row to life without parole.
AB 395 is the first death penalty abolition bill in Nevada to make it out of a policy committee and be considered in either chamber of the Nevada legislature for a floor vote. However, the fate of the bill in the Senate is far less certain, as Judiciary Committee Chair and Clark County prosecutor Sen. Melanie Scheible (D-Las Vegas) has not committed to giving the bill a hearing. The bill may face another hurdle in the governor’s office, as Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has said there are some “incredibly severe situations that may warrant consideration of capital punishment (...) [w]hich is why I have a hard time with the idea of a complete abolishment of the death penalty.”
Nevada has not carried out an execution since April 2006. However, Clark County, which accounts for three-quarters of Nevada’s death-row population, remains one of the most active death-sentencing counties in the United States, with a particularly high rate of convictions and death sentences being overturned as a result of prosecutorial misconduct.