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DA seeks ways to shorten delays in murder cases

Reported by: Denise Rosch
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Updated: 7/13/2012 7:04 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Death penalty cases can drag on for years, which is something Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson would like to change.

It's been three months since an intruder broke into the Martinez home and destroyed a family, killing a mother and daughter.

But for neighbor James Wallace, a ritual continues, leaving a teddy bear in front of the home.

Bryan Clay, the accused killer of Yadira Martinez and her daughter, Karla, is set to go to trial in June.

A death penalty case is one that can mean more work and more preparation for attorneys on both sides.

“We have 77 capital cases pending right now in Clark County,” Wolfson said. “We have about 220 murder cases.”

Many, he says, have dragged on for years.

This is why Wolfson is now gathering information on every one of those pending murder trials, looking at the number of continuances and other reasons for long delays.

“Recognizing defendants have rights, and they're entitled to a fair trial, and they're entitled to effective counsel,” he said. “But some of the cases that are taking four and five years to get to trial, in my opinion that's too long.”

According to the Department of Prisons, there are 82 men on Nevada's death row. The execution chamber was last used in April 2006.

Wolfson says capital cases involving the death of a child, such as in the Martinez case, can present another complication.

Although the case has now moved from the crime scene here at the home to the courthouse, neighbors say they'll never forget the horrors of what happened here. A note to the victims is still taped on the now vacant home. And some say justice can't come fast enough.
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