CARSON CITY — Gov. Jim Gibbons has signed into law a bill to ensure that someone who is found not guilty by reason of insanity and later is determined to be sane can continue to get treatment once released from the state hospital.
Also on Monday, Gibbons logged his fifth veto of the session and signed into law Assembly Bill 263, which specifies the state will oversee reviews into the deaths of children in foster care or other child welfare programs.
AB193 also revives the guilty but mentally ill plea that was abolished by the Nevada Supreme Court in 2001 and later killed in statute by the Legislature in 2003.
The measure stemmed from a murder case in which Michael Kane killed a friend, John Trowbridge, while high on LSD in Las Vegas and was acquitted on the insanity defense.
Kane was sent to the state’s Lakes Crossing facility for treatment. His lawyer and the doctors who are treating him at the facility, where he has been for more than 4 1/2 years, have said he is no longer mentally ill.
Under AB263, the state Division of Family Services can organize teams to supervise any reviews conducted after the deaths of children in state or local care. The state division would determine whether child welfare agencies are following child welfare laws and would take corrective actions if they are not.
The bill was created because of a study that found 11 children died of abuse while in the protective custody of the Clark County Department of Child and Family Services between 2001 and 2004.
A state Department of Health and Human Services analysis found that another 79 deaths of children during the 2001-04 period should have been investigated by Clark County Family Services but were not.
Gibbons vetoed a bill sought by defense attorneys who contended that Nevada prosecutors, especially in Las Vegas, use grand juries to get a second “bite” at cases already dismissed by judges.
Gibbons said AB364 would “result in a dramatic and unwarranted departure from existing criminal justice procedure in Nevada.”
The measure, sponsored by Assemblyman William Horne, D-Las Vegas, allowed a defendant to tell grand jurors whether evidence they were hearing had been presented to a judge in a preliminary hearing and was found to be insufficient to warrant a trial.
“This bill would open the door to future changes to the fundamental nature of grand jury proceedings,” Gibbons said, adding that the existing system is “a fair and workable system that protects the rights of defendants and there is no compelling need to change it.”
The Assembly voted 31-11 late Monday to override the governor’s veto of AB364. But a two-thirds majority in both houses is required to override a veto, and the Republican-controlled state Senate was not expected to follow suit.
Review-Journal Capital Bureau chief Ed Vogel contributed to this report.2007