Is spitting enough to warrant 10 to 25 years in a Nevada prison? The Nevada Supreme Court has the very issue under advisement on appeal from a Nye County verdict.
Timothy Hobbs received this sentence last year. On October 8, 2008 he confronted his former girlfriend in a beauty salon where she was having a manicure. They had an argument and he spat in her face. He also threw a rock through the windshield of her vehicle.
Hobbs has a criminal record consisting of six felony and thirty-three misdemeanor convictions. Two of those convictions are for domestic violence. In Nevada a third conviction is treated as a felony.
The question before the Nevada Supreme Court is does spitting fall into the definition of battery, described by statute as “unwanted use of force or violence”. Hobbs’ attorneys argued before the Nevada Supreme Court this week that spitting does not meet that requirement. Rather they argued that spitting is not an act of violence by rather an act that is deemed impolite.
The other issue is whether or not the prosecutor properly established Hobbs’ criminal history as required by Nevada procedural requirements.
Nevada State Law requires that judges be provided certified copies of conviction records to guard against wrongful sentences. Hobbs’ attorneys argued that because Hobbs was improperly certified as a habitual offender. A Justice of the Peace, rather than the trial judge, made that decision and thereby violated Nevada State Law that requires the sentencing judge to make such rulings.
The Nevada Supreme Court took the matter under advisement and will issue a ruling later.