Attorney General Laxalt’s Solicitor General’s Unit Secures Conviction for Northern Nevada County from US and Nevada Supreme Courts

September 25, 2018

Carson City, NV – Today, after taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt applauded the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision upholding the conviction of a felon in possession of a firearm in northern Nevada. In early 2015, shortly after taking office, AG Laxalt held his inaugural Law Enforcement Summit to receive input from and provide assistance to law enforcement officers and prosecutors across the State. During that Summit, Elko County prosecutors asked the Office of the Nevada Attorney General to review a recent Nevada Supreme Court decision overturning the conviction of Ralph Torres. Torres had been arrested in Elko County for outstanding warrants and was discovered to be unlawfully carrying a handgun when arrested. He was charged and convicted on a felon in possession charge by the Elko County District Attorney’s Office. But that conviction was overturned on appeal by the Nevada Supreme Court in January, 2015.

    AG Laxalt’s Solicitor General Unit reviewed the decision and determined that the case raised important constitutional issues that could be presented to the United States Supreme Court. As a result, the Unit offered to assist Elko County by seeking U.S. Supreme Court review. After reviewing briefing filed by the Solicitor General’s Unit, the U.S. Supreme Court granted review, vacated the Nevada Supreme Court’s decision, and remanded the case back to the Nevada Supreme Court for further review.

      On remand to the Nevada Supreme Court, the Solicitor General’s Unit continued to assist Elko County. Attorneys in the Unit briefed the case on behalf of Elko County and the Solicitor General, Lawrence VanDyke, re-argued the case to the Nevada Supreme Court on June 5, 2017. After further proceedings, the Nevada Supreme Court today upheld Ralph Torres’s felon in possession conviction.

        “Years of litigation have resulted in this important win for Elko County and law enforcement all across our State,” said Laxalt. “This type of communication and collaboration is why I initiated my Law Enforcement Summits that brings together law enforcement from each of Nevada’s counties. It is always immensely gratifying to see the real world benefits for Nevada—here, ensuring that a convicted felon not escape his sentence for unlawfully carrying a firearm. I commend my Solicitor General’s Unit for providing top-notch advocacy on behalf of the rule-of-law in this and other cases.”

          The U.S. Supreme Court briefing is available here and here. The Nevada Supreme Court’s decision is available here.