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Defense Lawyer Loses Bid To Get Judge To Kill Death Penalty

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A state court judge rejected a bid by a defense lawyer to declare Nevada's death penalty unconstitutional because the two most powerful lawmakers in the state Legislature are also career prosecutors.

Clark County District Court Judge Douglas Herndon said Tuesday that a criminal courtroom is the wrong forum for arguments about legislative bias or decisions made by elected state representatives.

Attorney JoNell Thomas says she'll likely appeal Herndon's ruling to the Nevada Supreme Court.

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Herndon says the Legislature, not the courts, should decide if it's proper for part-time lawmakers to be led by party leaders whose full-time jobs are to enforce the law.

Senate majority leader, Nicole Cannizzaro, and Assembly speaker, Jason Frierson, both Democrats, are deputy Clark County district attorneys.

They didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.