This is a Civil Rights action alleging that Nevada Revised Statute (“NRS”) 176.059 creates a structural financial conflict of interest such that trial courts in Nevada have a pecuniary interest in the outcome of cases, resulting in a violation of a criminal defendant’s guarantee of due process of law.
NRS 176.059 requires judges to levy fines against criminal defendants who plead guilty, a portion of which pays for the operation of the courts as well as reimbursements to judge’s expenses. One of the essential elements of due process is a “trial before an unbiased judge.”
A judge who has a pecuniary interest in the outcome of the cases before her may be seen by the “average man” to have a conflict of interest between the fees collected through her court and accepting guilty pleas from the defendants before her.
The Supreme Court of the State of Nevada denied Onyeagolu’s appeal and the case has been closed.