Death penalty cases: Instructions to jury; determinations; findings and verdict; hearing to set aside sentence of defendant alleged to be mentally retarded. In cases in which the death penalty is sought:
1. The court shall instruct the jury at the end of the penalty hearing, and shall include in its instructions the aggravating circumstances alleged by the prosecution upon which evidence has been presented during the trial or at the hearing. The court shall also instruct the jury as to the mitigating circumstances alleged by the defense upon which evidence has been presented during the trial or at the hearing.
2. The jury shall determine:
(a) Whether an aggravating circumstance or circumstances are found to exist;
(b) Whether a mitigating circumstance or circumstances are found to exist; and
(c) Based upon these findings, whether the defendant should be sentenced to imprisonment for a definite term of 50 years, life imprisonment with the possibility of parole, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or death.
3. The jury may impose a sentence of death only if it finds at least one aggravating circumstance and further finds that there are no mitigating circumstances sufficient to outweigh the aggravating circumstance or circumstances found.
4. If a jury imposes a sentence of death, the jury shall render a written verdict signed by the foreman. The verdict must designate the aggravating circumstance or circumstances which were found beyond a reasonable doubt, and must state that there are no mitigating circumstances sufficient to outweigh the aggravating circumstance or circumstances found.
5. If a sentence of death is imposed and a prior determination regarding mental retardation has not been made pursuant to NRS 174.098, the defendant may file a motion to set aside the penalty on the grounds that the defendant is mentally retarded. If such a motion is filed, the court shall conduct a hearing on that issue in the manner set forth in NRS 174.098. If the court determines pursuant to such a hearing that the defendant is mentally retarded, it shall set aside the sentence of death and order a new penalty hearing to be conducted. Either party may appeal such a determination to the Supreme Court pursuant to NRS 177.015.
Last modified: February 25, 2006