High Court Ruling Favors Nevada Parole Board In Open-Meet Dispute

Scrapping its 2006 ruling against closed Parole Board hearings, the Nevada Supreme Court says such proceedings aren't subject to terms of the state's open meeting law.

The high court held that the law doesn't apply to parole hearings because they're quasi-judicial proceedings.

The decision by the full court cancels the earlier ruling by a three-justice
panel that had favored inmate John Witherow.

The latest decision wasn't unanimous.

Justice Jim Hardesty and Chief Justice Bill Maupin wrote a partial dissent, saying the ruling leaves a big loophole that could be used by many government panels to hold closed meetings.

Hardesty said a Supreme Court ruling in another case lets any public body implement modest due process protections to qualify as quasi-judicial, and that "eviscerates" Nevada's open meeting law.

Hardesty says the other decision, involving Robert Stockmeier who also was in prison, should be overturned to close the loophole and ensure that any entity that sees itself performing a quasi-judicial function meets terms of a well-recognized judicial function test.