Because judges and jurors are supposed to be impartial decision-makers, it is a crime if they ask for or receive a bribe or if someone else offers them a bribe in exchange for a verdict. Unfortunately, it is common for innocent people to be falsely accused of this Nevada crime of “judicial bribery.” Learn more about the laws below.
The legal definition of bribery of a judicial officer in Nevada occurs when “a person who gives, offers or promises, directly or indirectly, any compensation, gratuity or reward to a judicial officer, juror, referee, arbitrator, appraiser, assessor or other person authorized by law to hear or determine any question, matter, cause, proceeding or controversy, with the intent to influence his or her action, vote, opinion or decision thereupon.” (NRS 199.010)
In short, it is illegal in Nevada to try to sway a judge, juror, or any other judicial officer to rule in a certain way in return for money, a favor, or anything else of value. It does not matter if the judicial officer does not accept the bribe — merely offering is an offense in Nevada.
Conversely, it is also considered a Nevada crime when a judicial officer such as judges or jurors ask for or receive a bribe “upon an agreement or understanding that his or her vote, opinion, judgment, action, decision or other official proceeding will be influenced thereby, or that the judicial officer will do or omit any act or proceeding or in any way neglect or violate any official duty.” (NRS 199.020; NRS 193.130)
Similarly, it does not matter if the judicial officer never receives the requested compensation or if he/she ultimately breaks his/her promise to deliver the promised verdict — simply asking for a favor in return for a court ruling is a violation of Nevada judicial bribery law.
If you are arrested for judicial bribery in Clark County NV, remember that you cannot be convicted unless the prosecutor succeeds in proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt — an extremely high standard.
The following are just some defenses your attorney may consider employing when fighting your case:
- No intent to trade a verdict for a favor. If you participated in an otherwise legal business transaction with someone else, you cannot be found guilty of judicial bribery just because one of you is a judicial officer. If the prosecutor cannot show you intended to carry out a bribe, no crime occurred.
- Entrapment. If the police suspect you may engage in judicial bribery, they may actually use undercover officers to try to get you to agree to a judicial bribe and then arrest you if you do. If your attorney can show the policemen went too far and that you would not have carried out the bribe otherwise, the charges should be dropped. Visit our page on Nevada entrapment laws for a more detailed discussion.
- Coercion. In some cases, a person may be “coerced” into bribing or accepting a bribe in exchange for a judicial favor. If your attorney can show you were threatened and acted only out of fear of harm, the case should be dismissed.
The Las Vegas crime of judicial bribery is a category C felony in Nevada, carrying a sentence of:
- one to five years in Nevada State Prison, and
- maybe a fine of up to $10,000
It does not matter whether the defendant is a judge or juror accepting a bribe or an ordinary citizen making a bribe to a judge or juror — anyone convicted of judicial bribery faces the same felony punishments, and judicial officers are not afforded special treatment or leniency.
Other bribery crimes
Nevada has several different bribery laws depending on the parties’ jobs and the context of the alleged crime. Click below to learn more about them:
- The Nevada crime of Commercial Bribery
- The Nevada crime of Sports Bribery
- The Nevada crime of Bribery of/by Public Officials
- The Nevada crime of Bribery of/by Witnesses
Arrested? Call us now . . . .
If you have been charged with bribing a judge or juror in Nevada or accepting a bribe as a judge or juror in Nevada, then please call our Las Vegas criminal defense lawyers for a free consultation. We will do everything to try to get your case reduced to lesser charges or dismissed completely so your criminal record stays clean.