February 11, 2021
City, NV - Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford is
pleased to announce that Reginald D. Mason, a/k/a Reginald D. Hayes, was
granted a Certificate of Innocence and awarded $975,000.00 from the State of
Nevada as compensation for the 13 years spent in prison following his wrongful
conviction. Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Douglas W. Herndon entered
stipulated orders on December 9, 2020, which AG Ford fully supported. The
Board of Examiners approved the payment on February 9, 2021.
In 1985, when he was only 14-years-old, Mason
was convicted by the State of Nevada of four counts of Attempted Murder with
Use of a Deadly Weapon and one count of First Degree Murder with Use of a
Deadly Weapon. However, less than a year later, the presiding judge resigned
following a preliminary emergency investigation by the Nevada Supreme Court.
This investigation eventually revealed willful misconduct beginning a year
before Mason’s trial.
In 1988, the State agreed to permit Mason to
enter a nolo contendere plea to reduced charges of First Degree Kidnapping and
he was released on a time-served sentence on November 19, 1998. The following
year, Mason received a unanimous pardon from the State of Nevada Board of
Pardons Commissioners based on his actual innocence.
In 2019, the Nevada Legislature adopted
Assembly Bill 267 – codified in NRS 41.900 et seq. – to compensate persons who
have been wrongfully incarcerated if they can prove, by a preponderance of the
evidence, that they did not commit the crime for which they were convicted,
were not an accomplice, and did not otherwise cause their own conviction.
Additional costs, including reasonable attorney fees, educational expenses, counseling
services and certain other reimbursements are also permitted.
“I am elated that after many
years, Mr. Mason has been declared an innocent man after he was arrested and
convicted as a teenager," said AG
Ford. "Time was stolen from him at a young age and no one can replace
that. The pursuit of justice is paramount to the mission of my office and I
could not be prouder of the attorneys in my office who worked on this case to
obtain justice for Mr. Mason."
This case was investigated by the Attorney General’s
Post-Conviction Division and litigated by Senior Deputy Attorney General
Heather Procter, Deputy Attorney General Jaimie Stilz, and Deputy Attorney
General Sheryl Serreze.