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November 28, 2014

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Reports offer recommendations to curb domestic-violence fatalities

State and local teams analyzing domestic violence-related homicides have issued 17 recommendations to reduce those deaths in Nevada.

The office of Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto on Thursday released the first report, which will be done annually going forward.

The state, Clark County and Washoe County teams analyzed one or several cases using an “inch wide, mile deep” approach, officials said. In doing so, the teams collected information and records to show a timeline of the victims’ and perpetrators’ lives.

Those detailed case analyses led to recommendations by each team.

Among the eight recommendations issued by the statewide Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team was one related to sentencing.

The statewide team recommends working with judges and attorneys to eliminate the “pleading down” of domestic violence cases.

“When these cases are pleaded down to lower level offenses, sentencing is ineffective or even dangerous,” according to the report.

The statewide team also recommended evaluating whether Nevada should create a process for instant temporary protective orders at the time of an arrest. Officials noted that such a process might require on-call judges but could protect victims from further abuse.

The Clark County team issued seven recommendations based on three case reviews: a firearm-related murder in Henderson, a stabbing murder in Las Vegas and a firearm-related murder-suicide in North Las Vegas.

In one of those cases, the perpetrator previously had been convicted of domestic violence but remained in possession of a firearm.

As a result, the Clark County team recommended amending state law so that people convicted of misdemeanor battery constituting domestic violence could not own or possess guns.

The Clark County team also issued two recommendations aimed at helping domestic-violence victims who may have a mental illness or substance abuse problems.

“Historically it has been difficult for victims of domestic violence with mental health or substance abuse issues to access domestic violence shelters,” the team wrote. “… but they could still benefit from the safety a shelter can offer.”

To review the full report, click here.

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