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Debora Redden appears in Las Vegas District Court on attempted murxer charges (Photo: Screenshot YouTube)

Washoe County Sees Significant Spike in Crime After Criminal Justice ‘Reform’ Bill Passed

Washoe County DA: Debora Redden is ‘symbolic’ of the dire consequences of AB236 and a ‘product of the bail reform movement’

By Megan Barth, January 11, 2024 3:07 pm

Last night in a presentation to Keystone Corporation members and business owners, Washoe County District Attorney (DA) Chris Hicks warned that Nevada is on its way to becoming California. Citing the criminal justice reform bill AB236, signed by Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak and enacted in 2020, Hicks directly tied AB236 to crime data and a significant spike in crime across the second-largest county in Nevada.

Washoe County crime statistics presented by DA Christoper Hicks (Photo: Ariel Van Cleve for The Nevada Globe)

AB 236 was designed and passed by the Democratic legislative majority with hopes to reduce the prison population through various changes to the penal code in relation to sentencing, bail, probation, drug offenses and felony categories and convictions.

AB236 increased the threshold for felony theft from $650 to $1200. California’s felony threshold is $950.

The Globe reported on the unfortunate consequences of this substantive change:

Since the Democratic majority, led by Steve Yeager, passed Assembly Bill 236 in 2019, the Silver State has seen a 15 percent increase in property crimes and a staggering 39 percent increase in drug-store thefts on the Las Vegas Strip. At the time, Attorney General Aaron Ford was “intimately involved” and enthusiastically backed the bill that overhauled Nevada’s criminal justice system.

The bill raised the threshold for felony theft from $650 worth of stolen goods to $1,200. A criminal who steals up to $1,200 worth of goods will be charged with misdemeanor larceny instead of a category D felony.

At the time of consideration, Yeager told Nevada Newsmakers, “We have a very low threshold of theft here. It is $600 for a felony. Your average iPhone is going to be $1,200. So if you take an iPhone, you are looking at having a felony.”

“So we looked at adjusting those levels,” he said. “Initially the bill had proposed $2,000 for a felony, which put us in line with most other states. But that was a concern for some of the businesses. So we did what we do in the legislative building. We sat down, we talked about it and we have come to a place where I think everybody can agree is appropriate and that is $1,200 (threshold for felony theft).”

Additionally, AB236 decreased the penalties on drug trafficking and increased the amount of methamphetamine and fentanyl possession. DA Hicks stated that AB236 “rubber-stamped” drug use.

Washoe County DA Chris Hicks (Photo: Ariel Van Cleve for The Nevada Globe)

Prior to 2020, a person caught with enough fentanyl to kill thousands of people would be charged with drug trafficking. After AB236 was passed, that same trafficker is now charged with possession and is often released on their own recognizance. If the defendant pleads guilty, AB236 requires that the felon is given mandatory probation for the offense.

Furthermore, significant changes were made to probation violations.

Prior the passage of AB236, habitual criminals usually faced increased sanctions. Hicks noted that prosecutors had discretion to ask for increased sanctions at three felonies, now prosecutors can only request increased sanctions if the repeat offenders has SEVEN felonies. 

To note, Debora Redden, a habitual felon who went viral for leaping over a Las Vegas judge’s bench and attempted to murder her, had multiple violent felonies on his record at the time of the attack, but did not meet the seven-felony threshold.  Hicks warned that Redden was “symbolic” of the dire consequences of AB236 and a “product of the bail reform movement.”

Another concerning reform in AB236 relates to the early release parameters for convicted felons.

If an incarcerated felon is sentenced to a minimum sentence of five years, “good time credits” are applied to the minimum, not maximum, sentence. For example, if a felon is sentenced to 5-10 years, but is awarded credits to their minimum sentence, the felon could be back on the streets in less than a year.

Hicks quipped, “In Nevada, don’t do the crime if you can’t do half the time.” Hicks also noted that the Nevada Supreme Court decision rendered in Valdez-Jiminez V. The Eight Circuit” ushered in sweeping and negative changes in criminal law.

According to the Nevada State Bar Association:

Valdez-Jimenez course-corrects the old way of conducting detention hearings in two critical ways: (1) courts must treat unattainable cash bail as de facto detention orders; and (2) prosecutors must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence the need for detention when asking for unattainable cash bail. This change means prosecutors can no longer request, and judges can no longer set, arbitrary cash bail amounts without determining whether cash bail is necessary, and if so, what amount the person can afford. As a result, Valdez-Jimenez represents a big step toward eliminating wealth-based detention, and hearings in Nevada should now be conducted drastically differently.

Hicks noted that the Nevada Supreme Court sent a message of “Release, release, release” and “flipped bail on its head.” “This decision put our office in disarray, Everyday we are now in court and we must prove why someone should not be released on their own recognizance. We argue for vail and we lose all the time, even over serious felonies,” Hicks warned.

During the last legislative session, Republican Joe Lombardo put forth a series of proposals to amend AB236, however his bill was gutted and a watered-down version of the bill passed through the legislature that did not repeal the dangerous reforms found in the legislation.

“There is an erosion of criminal consequence in Nevada. What we need back in Nevada is consequences for bad actors,” Hicks stated. “AB236 makes it easy on the criminals and hard on the victims. Behind every crime, is a victim or victims of that crime.” Hicks added. “When you take away consequences, laws become flimsy.”



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4 thoughts on “Washoe County Sees Significant Spike in Crime After Criminal Justice ‘Reform’ Bill Passed

  1. More crime hurts everybody. It’s just that liberals are willing to risk their own hides [and their own liberal skins] on the off chance that the increased crime knocks off a few “Trump supporters”.

  2. FBI spending millions on “hate crime reporting” efforts. Radio, bus ads… even ads on the screens at gas pumps. This is part of effort to campaign on fear of the opposition, rather on a record of accomplishments. Utah and Nevada are getting ads, Not sure national breakdown. Are tips going to be investigated in a non biased fashion? Or do “Trump hat” instances get priority?

  3. FBI spending millions advertising for hate crime “tips” on media including radio, buses and even gas pumps. Think this is part of an effort to prop up democrats election talking points. ??
    So it’s not shoplifting it’s “hate crimes” – but a “pro Israel” demonstrator. who’s assaulted – that doesn’t count.

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