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November 23, 2014

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Juvenile records ruled off limits in case of man accused of killing mother, daughter

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Steve Marcus

Bryan Clay, 22, makes an initial appearance on charges at the Regional Justice Center Tuesday, May 5, 2012. Clay faces charges in connection with a double-homicide of a mother and daughter in their Robin Street home on April 15, 2012.

Suspect in Double Homicide

Bryan Clay, 22, makes an initial appearance at the Regional Justice Center Tuesday, May 5, 2012. Clay faces charges in connection with a double-homicide of a mother and daughter in their Robin Street home on April 15, 2012. Launch slideshow »

CARSON CITY — The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that juvenile delinquency records cannot be used in the trial of a Las Vegas man charged in the hammer slaying of a mother and her 10-year-old daughter.

“We conclude that Nevada law does not allow the state to inspect a person’s sealed juvenile records for use against the person in subsequent criminal proceedings,” the court ruled.

The case involves Bryan D. Clay, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and faces a possible death sentence.

Clay, 22 at the time, is accused of entering a Las Vegas home in April 2012 and using a claw hammer to kill Yadira Martinez and her daughter Karla, according to court records. There was evidence that both had been sexually assaulted, according to records.

Martinez’s husband, Arturo Martinez, also was beaten but survived. The family’s ordeal was the subject of the Las Vegas Sun series Grace Through Grief.

District Court Judge William Voy granted a motion by prosecutors to unseal the juvenile records of Clay for use at the trial.

But the state Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Nancy Saitta, said there is no indication that the Legislature ever intended “to allow a prosecutor to inspect a defendant’s sealed juvenile records to obtain information that could later be used against him or her.”

Saitta said the law allows the inspection of a person’s sealed juvenile records only by a District Court judge and only if the individual is to be sentenced by a judge. In this case, a jury would decide the penalty if Clay were to be convicted of capital murder.

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