Givens v. State, 13849

Docket NºNo. 13849
Citation99 Nev. 50, 657 P.2d 97
Case DateJanuary 27, 1983
CourtSupreme Court of Nevada

Page 97

657 P.2d 97
99 Nev. 50
James Earl GIVENS, Appellant,
The STATE of Nevada, Respondent.
No. 13849.
Supreme Court of Nevada.
Jan. 27, 1983.

Page 98

Morgan D. Harris, Public Defender, Douglas P. DeJulio, and Craig D. Creel, Deputy Public Defenders, Las Vegas, for appellant.

Brian McKay, Atty. Gen., Carson City, Robert J. Miller, Dist. Atty., James Tufteland, Randall M. Pike, Deputy Dist. Attys., Clark County, Las Vegas, for respondent.

[99 Nev. 51] OPINION


James Earl Givens appeals from a judgment of conviction of first degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, and battery. Givens seeks reversal on several grounds. He contends that the district court committed reversible error in denying his motions to preclude the State from using both the fact and specific nature of a prior felony conviction to impeach his testimony, and in refusing to exclude witnesses from the courtroom in violation of NRS 50.155. He also contends that the rule against double jeopardy bars his conviction of both kidnapping and false imprisonment. While the district court erred in refusing appellant's request to exclude witnesses, we hold that the error [99 Nev. 52] in this case is not reversible. The State concedes the merit of appellant's double jeopardy argument. We therefore set aside the conviction of false imprisonment, and affirm the judgment of the district court in all other respects.


Givens was charged with one count of first degree kidnapping with use of a deadly weapon, and three counts of sexual assault with use of a deadly weapon. During the jury trial, defense counsel moved to preclude the State from introducing a prior felony conviction for impeachment purposes, on the grounds that the danger of unfair prejudice outweighed the probative value of the conviction. Givens had entered a guilty plea to a charge of assault with intent to commit rape in 1970, and had been sentenced to three years in state prison. The district judge denied the motion.

Givens' counsel then made a motion in limine requesting that only the fact and not the nature of the prior felony be admitted, relying on this Court's opinion in Sanders v. State, 96 Nev. 341, 609 P.2d 324 (1980). The judge denied the motion, which then led defense counsel to bring out both the fact and name of the prior felony conviction on direct examination.

On the second day of trial, before any testimony was heard, defense counsel moved to invoke the rule of exclusion of witnesses. The judge denied the motion. On the third day of trial, defense counsel noted that several of the State's witnesses had been present in the courtroom during the testimony of prosecution witnesses.

At the completion of the trial, the jury was instructed as to both kidnapping and false imprisonment, and it found Givens guilty of both charges. The jury also found Givens guilty of battery. He was sentenced to ten years in state prison for the kidnapping, one year in the county jail for the false imprisonment, and six months in the county jail for the battery, all sentences to run concurrently. This appeal followed.


The statutes and case authority of this State permit impeachment by proof of

Page 99

prior felony convictions which are not too remote, and do not limit the felonies that can be used to those specifically determined to be relevant to the witness' veracity. NRS 50.095; Rusling v. State, 96 Nev. 755, 616 P.2d 1108 (1980); Yates v. State, 95 Nev. 446, 449-50, 596 P.2d 239, 241 (1979). However, the trial court must exclude prior felony convictions if their probative value is substantially outweighed by [99 Nev. 53] the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury. NRS 48.035(1); Yates v. State, supra; Anderson v. State, 92 Nev. 21, 544 P.2d 1200 (1976); Edwards v. State, 90 Nev. 255, 263-64, 524 P.2d 328, 334 (1974).

While the nature of the prior felony conviction may affect the trial court's determination as to its relevance and hence its admissibility for impeachment purposes, the outcome of the balancing process rests within the sound discretion of the trial court, and will not be reversed absent a clear showing of abuse. See Owens v. State, 96 Nev. 880, 620 P.2d 1236 (1980); Rusling v. State, supra; Hicks v. State, 95 Nev. 503, 596 P.2d 505 (1979); Yates v. State, supra; Redeford v. State, 93 Nev. 649, 654, 572 P.2d 219, 222 (1977); Anderson v. State, supra.

We recognize that assaultive crimes usually have only slight probative value with respect to veracity, and that prejudice is magnified when the prior crime parallels that for which the defendant witness is presently being tried. Although this is a close case, we cannot say that the district court abused its discretion by admitting Givens' prior conviction for assault with intent to commit rape. See State v. Renfro, 96 Wash.2d 902, 639 P.2d 737, 740 (1982). See also United States v. Wilson, 536 F.2d 883 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 982, 97 S.Ct. 497, 50 L.Ed.2d 592 (1976).

Givens contends that, because he was willing to stipulate to the fact of his prior conviction, the district court should have prevented the State from inquiring into the nature of the conviction, on the grounds that it was similar to the current charges and thus...

To continue reading

Request your trial
23 cases
  • Barton v. State, 33143.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • September 12, 2001
    ...P.2d 1072 (1997); Meador v. State, 101 Nev. 765, 711 P.2d 852 (1985); Moore v. State, 100 Nev. 698, 692 P.2d 1278 (1984); Givens v. State, 99 Nev. 50, 657 P.2d 97 (1983); Sheriff v. Blasko, 98 Nev. 327, 647 P.2d 371 (1982); McKenna v. State, 98 Nev. 323, 647 P.2d 865 (1982); Lovell v. State......
  • Witter v. State, 27539
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • July 22, 1996 to prevent particular witnesses from shaping their testimony, and to detect falsehood by exposing inconsistencies." Givens v. State, 99 Nev. 50, 55, 657 P.2d 97, 100 (1983) (citations omitted), overruled on other grounds, Talancon v. State, 102 Nev. 294, 721 P.2d 764 (1986). Kathryn Cox ......
  • Warren v. State, 43063.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • December 15, 2005
    ...65-66. 28. Id. at 1095, 13 P.3d at 65. 29. Id. at 1096, 13 P.3d at 66. 30. Pineda, 120 Nev. at 210, 88 P.3d at 832 (citing Givens v. State, 99 Nev. 50, 53, 657 P.2d 97, 99 (1983), overruled on other grounds by Talancon v. State, 102 Nev. 294, 721 P.2d 764 31. Id. (citing Yates v. State, 95 ......
  • Evans v. State, 26679
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • October 22, 1996
    ...court and will affect his credibility it will not of itself operate to render the witness incompetent to testify." Id. In Givens v. State, 99 Nev. 50, 657 P.2d 97 (1983), overruled on other grounds by Talancon v. State, 102 Nev. 294, 721 P.2d 764 (1986), this court explained that "[t]he pur......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT