May 16, 2019
Carson City, NV - Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford celebrated the signing of Assembly Bill (AB) 16 and Senate Bill (SB) 9, the first two bills relating to criminal justice signed under his term as Attorney General. Taken together, these pieces of legislation will assist local law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault and DNA-evidence based crimes. The bills passed through the Legislature with strong, bipartisan support.
"As the top law enforcement officer of this State, I'm committed to assisting local investigators and prosecutors in their pursuit of justice," said Attorney General Aaron Ford. "I'm proud that these two pieces of legislation not only embody that goal but that they will also have a lasting impact on victims of crime and their families."
"I was proud to sign these two bills today that will strengthen our justice system and provide our hard-working men and women of law enforcement with better tools to pursue justice for victims," added Governor Steve Sisolak. "I'm grateful to Attorney General Ford, our law enforcement community, and advocates to end sexual assault for their hard work in getting these bills to my desk."
AB 16, a bill sponsored by the Office of the Nevada Attorney General, increases
the time for law enforcement officers to execute and return search warrants to
obtain DNA samples. Under current law, a search warrant must be executed and
returned to the Court within 10 days of issuance. However, if a subject is
actively evading the police, law enforcement must return to the courts every 10
days to renew the warrant. If the warrant lapses and the subject is
subsequently located, law enforcement can only detain that person for one hour
while they attempt to get the warrant renewed. If the clock runs out before
they are able to do so, the person must be released. The passage of AB 16
expands the effective period of a DNA warrant from that narrow 10-day window to
SB 9, another bill sponsored by the Office of the Nevada Attorney General removes the statute of limitation when a sexual assault is committed during the course of a murder. Under current law, if a victim of sexual assault or a person authorized to act on behalf of the victim files a police report within five years of the assault, the statute of limitations on the crime is lifted, and the crime can be prosecuted at any time in the future. If however the victim does not file a report within five years, the statute of limitations for sexual assault is 20 years. These statutes created a problematic loophole where victims of sexual assault who have been murdered are unable to file a report, making the prosecution of these crimes limited to only 20 years. This legislation closes that loophole.
For more information on AB 16 and SB 9, visit leg.state.nv.us.