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Judge: State senator should not have prosecuted DUI case

Posted at 11:24 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 08:44:05-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Judge Richard Scotti of the Clark County District Court has ruled to overturn a DUI conviction because the prosecutor in the case is also a state senator.

A DUI conviction from 2019 was in question after an appeal from the defendant in the case, Jennifer Plumlee.

The appeal has shown a light on the need for separation of powers within the state.

The case was originally prosecuted by Nevada Sen. Melanie Scheible, who also works as a deputy district attorney in Clark County.

Nevada Constitution's Article 3, Section 1, reads an individual may not serve simultaneously as the lawmaker and the law enforcer of the laws of the State of Nevada.

Appellant Jennifer Plumlee was deprived of her Constitutional rights of procedural due process because her prosecutor Deputy District Attorney Scheible was also serving as a Legislator at the time of the trial and in violation of the Separation of Powers doctrine which exists as a fundamental feature of American government and as an express clause in the Nevada Constitution.
-Court minutes obtained by 13 Action News


Court notes also reflect the decision does not impact all cases prosecuted by Scheible.

The notes state: "This is not a case of the Judiciary determining the qualifications to be a member of the Legislature, or to work for the district attorney's office. Rather this case involves the due process rights of an accused; and, in this case, those rights were violated."

In the end, the court overturned the 2019 DUI conviction of Plumlee.