Knapp v. State ex rel. Dept. of Prisons, No. 25262

Docket NºNo. 25262
Citation892 P.2d 575, 111 Nev. 420
Case DateMarch 30, 1995
CourtSupreme Court of Nevada

Page 575

892 P.2d 575
111 Nev. 420
William M. KNAPP; State of Nevada, ex rel., its Department
of Personnel, Appellants,
v.
STATE of Nevada, ex rel., its DEPARTMENT OF PRISONS, Respondent.
No. 25262.
Supreme Court of Nevada.
March 30, 1995.

Page 576

[111 Nev. 421] Norah Ann McCoy, Legal Counsel, Carson City, for appellants.

Frankie Sue Del Papa, Atty. Gen., and George H. Taylor, Deputy Atty. Gen., Carson City, for respondent.

[111 Nev. 422] OPINION

PER CURIAM:

Appellant William M. Knapp worked as a psychologist for respondent Department of Prisons (DOP) at Northern Nevada Correctional Center (NNCC). DOP fired him for misconduct. A hearing officer of the Nevada State Personnel Commission reversed his dismissal. The district court reversed the hearing officer's decision. We now reverse the district court's order for failure to review the officer's decision under the proper standard.

Knapp worked as a forensic evaluator, reporting to the Parole Board on inmates' potential for recidivism. He also provided substance

Page 577

abuse education for inmates and was on stand-by for crisis intervention.

In January, 1991, Knapp formed Wild West Corporation with the aim of establishing a brothel, saloon, and dance hall. Knapp obtained a business license in Lyon County, began to advertise his venture, and sought to raise money for it. He employed inmates at NNCC through a hobby craft program to type mailing labels and stuff envelopes with flyers advertising his venture and offering coupons to the brothel at a discount. In April, 1991, Knapp's efforts and his employment with DOP were reported in newspapers. DOP dismissed Knapp in May, 1991, for a number of violations of administrative rules and regulations.

Knapp appealed to the Nevada State Personnel Commission. Evidence was presented at a proceeding before a hearing officer in May, 1992. Knapp showed that he had followed established procedures in obtaining inmate labor and properly paid for it. The record also established that confusion existed among prison staff as to exactly what activities were allowed as hobby craft, but that inmates had performed clerical work before similar to that done [111 Nev. 423] for Knapp. Knapp also testified that he had discussed his brothel scheme in detail with one of his prison supervisors, but had not sought official approval for it because he assumed that such approval was not necessary until he actually commenced operations.

In a decision issued in October, 1992, the hearing officer found that DOP proved only two violations, reversed Knapp's dismissal, and remanded the matter to DOP for imposition of less severe discipline. DOP appealed to the district court, which heard oral arguments in October, 1993. In November, 1993, the court adopted the hearing officer's findings and conclusions but reversed the officer's determination that dismissal was too severe and ordered that Knapp's dismissal be reimposed. Knapp appealed to this court.

"When a decision of an administrative body is challenged, the function of this court is identical to that of the district court. It is to review the evidence presented to the administrative body and ascertain whether that body acted arbitrarily or capriciously, thus abusing its discretion." Gandy v. State ex rel. Div. Investigation, 96 Nev. 281, 282, 607 P.2d 581, 582 (1980). "Although the district court may decide pure legal questions without deference to an agency determination, an agency's conclusions of law which are closely related to the agency's view of the facts are entitled to deference and should not be disturbed if they are supported by...

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20 practice notes
  • O'Keefe v. State, No. 68460
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • December 6, 2018
    ...cited NRS 284.385, Dredge v. State, Department of Prisons, 105 Nev. 39, 769 P.2d 56 (1989), and Knapp v. State,Department of Prisons, 111 Nev. 420, 892 P.2d 575 (1995), for the proposition that the hearing officer must "make an independent determination as to whether there is sufficient evi......
  • Richardson v. State ex rel. Its Dep't of Transp., No. 54961.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • November 15, 2011
    ...a hearing officer does not defer to the appointing authority's [termination] decision.” Knapp v. State. Dep't of Prisons, 111 Nev. 420, 424, 892 P.2d 575, 577 (1995). However, in Dredge, this court carved out an exception to the general rule by stating that a decision by NDOC to dismiss an ......
  • O'Keefe v. State, 134 Nev., Advance Opinion 92
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • December 6, 2018
    ...NRS 284.385, Dredge v. State, Department of Prisons, 105 Nev. 39, 769 P.2d 56 (1989), and Knapp v. State,Page 4 Department of Prisons, 111 Nev. 420, 892 P.2d 575 (1995), for the proposition that the hearing officer must "make an independent determination as to whether there is sufficient ev......
  • Garcia v. State Dep't of Corr., No. 76585-COA
    • United States
    • Nevada Court of Appeals of Nevada
    • December 18, 2019
    ...termination. See generally State, Dep't of Prisons v. Jackson, 111 Nev. 770, 895 P.2d 1296 (1995); Knapp v. State, Dep't of Prisons, 111 Nev. 420, 892 P.2d 575 (1995); Dredge v. State, Dep't of Prisons, 105 Nev. 39, 769 P.2d 56 (1989).3 The hearing officer emphasized various contradictory e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • O'Keefe v. State, No. 68460
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • December 6, 2018
    ...cited NRS 284.385, Dredge v. State, Department of Prisons, 105 Nev. 39, 769 P.2d 56 (1989), and Knapp v. State,Department of Prisons, 111 Nev. 420, 892 P.2d 575 (1995), for the proposition that the hearing officer must "make an independent determination as to whether there is sufficient evi......
  • Richardson v. State ex rel. Its Dep't of Transp., No. 54961.
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • November 15, 2011
    ...a hearing officer does not defer to the appointing authority's [termination] decision.” Knapp v. State. Dep't of Prisons, 111 Nev. 420, 424, 892 P.2d 575, 577 (1995). However, in Dredge, this court carved out an exception to the general rule by stating that a decision by NDOC to dismiss an ......
  • O'Keefe v. State, 134 Nev., Advance Opinion 92
    • United States
    • Nevada Supreme Court of Nevada
    • December 6, 2018
    ...NRS 284.385, Dredge v. State, Department of Prisons, 105 Nev. 39, 769 P.2d 56 (1989), and Knapp v. State,Page 4 Department of Prisons, 111 Nev. 420, 892 P.2d 575 (1995), for the proposition that the hearing officer must "make an independent determination as to whether there is sufficient ev......
  • Garcia v. State Dep't of Corr., No. 76585-COA
    • United States
    • Nevada Court of Appeals of Nevada
    • December 18, 2019
    ...termination. See generally State, Dep't of Prisons v. Jackson, 111 Nev. 770, 895 P.2d 1296 (1995); Knapp v. State, Dep't of Prisons, 111 Nev. 420, 892 P.2d 575 (1995); Dredge v. State, Dep't of Prisons, 105 Nev. 39, 769 P.2d 56 (1989).3 The hearing officer emphasized various contradictory e......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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