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Article 1, Nevada Constitution

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Article 1 of the Nevada Constitution is entitled Declaration of Rights and consists of 22 sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Inalienable Rights

All men are by Nature free and equal and have certain inalienable rights among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; Acquiring, Possessing and Protecting property and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Purpose of Government; Paramount Allegiance to United States

All political power is inherent in the people[.] Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people; and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it. But the Paramount Allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its Constitutional powers as the same have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States; and no power exists in the people of this or any other State of the Federal Union to dissolve their connection therewith or perform any act tending to impair[,] subvert, or resist the Supreme Authority of the government of the United States. The Constitution of the United States confers full power on the Federal Government to maintain and Perpetuate its existance [existence], and whensoever any portion of the States, or people thereof attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the Execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its Authority.

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Trial by Jury; Waiver in Civil Cases

The right of trial by Jury shall be secured to all and remain inviolate forever; but a Jury trial may be waived by the parties in all civil cases in the manner to be prescribed by law; and in civil cases, if three fourths of the Jurors agree upon a verdict it shall stand and have the same force and effect as a verdict by the whole Jury, Provided, the Legislature by a law passed by a two thirds vote of all the members elected to each branch thereof may require a unanimous verdict notwithstanding this Provision.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Liberty of Conscience

The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall forever be allowed in this State, and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness on account of his opinions on matters of his religious belief, but the liberty of consciene [conscience] hereby secured, shall not be so construed, as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace, or safety of this State.

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Suspension of Habeas Corpus

The privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus, shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require its suspension.

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Excessive Bail and Fines; Cruel or Unusual Punishments; Detention of Witnesses

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted, nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Bail; Exception for Capital Offenses and Certain Murders

All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties; unless for Capital Offenses or murders punishable by life imprisonment without possibility of parole when the proof is evident or the presumption great.

[Amended in 1980. Proposed and passed by the 1977 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1979 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1980 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1977, p. 1697; Statutes of Nevada 1979, p. 1941.]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions; Jeopardy; Rights of Victims of Crime; Due Process of Law; Eminent Domain

[Effective through November 22, 2010, and after that date unless the proposed amendment is agreed to and passed by the 2009 Legislature and approved and ratified by the voters at the 2010 General Election.]

1. No person shall be tried for a capital or other infamous crime (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases of the militia when in actual service and the land and naval forces in time of war, or which this State may keep, with the consent of Congress, in time of peace, and in cases of petit larceny, under the regulation of the Legislature) except on presentment or indictment of the grand jury, or upon information duly filed by a district attorney, or Attorney General of the State, and in any trial, in any court whatever, the party accused shall be allowed to appear and defend in person, and with counsel, as in civil actions. No person shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense; nor shall he be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself.

2. The Legislature shall provide by law for the rights of victims of crime, personally or through a representative, to be:

(a) Informed, upon written request, of the status or disposition of a criminal proceeding at any stage of the proceeding;

(b) Present at all public hearings involving the critical stages of a criminal proceeding; and

(c) Heard at all proceedings for the sentencing or release of a convicted person after trial.

3. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, no person may maintain an action against the State or any public officer or employee for damages or injunctive, declaratory or other legal or equitable relief on behalf of a victim of a crime as a result of a violation of any statute enacted by the Legislature pursuant to subsection 2. No such violation authorizes setting aside a conviction or sentence or continuing or postponing a criminal proceeding.

4. A person may maintain an action to compel a public officer or employee to carry out any duty required by the Legislature pursuant to subsection 2.

5. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

6. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation having been first made, or secured, except in cases of war, riot, fire, or great public peril, in which case compensation shall be afterward made.

[Amended in 1912 and 1996. The first amendment was proposed and passed by the 1909 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1911 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1912 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1909, p. 346; Statutes of Nevada 1911, p. 454. The second amendment was proposed and passed by the 1993 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1995 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1996 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1993, p. 3065; Statutes of Nevada 1995, p. 2880.]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions; Jeopardy; Rights of Victims of Crime; Due Process of Law; Eminent Domain

[Effective November 23, 2010, if the proposed amendment is agreed to and passed by the 2009 Legislature and approved and ratified by the voters at the 2010 General Election.]

1. No person shall be tried for a capital or other infamous crime (except in cases of impeachment, and in cases of the militia when in actual service and the land and naval forces in time of war, or which this State may keep, with the consent of Congress, in time of peace, and in cases of petit larceny, under the regulation of the Legislature) except on presentment or indictment of the grand jury, or upon information duly filed by a district attorney, or Attorney General of the State, and in any trial, in any court whatever, the party accused shall be allowed to appear and defend in person, and with counsel, as in civil actions. No person shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense; nor shall he be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself.

2. The Legislature shall provide by law for the rights of victims of crime, personally or through a representative, to be:

(a) Informed, upon written request, of the status or disposition of a criminal proceeding at any stage of the proceeding;

(b) Present at all public hearings involving the critical stages of a criminal proceeding; and

(c) Heard at all proceedings for the sentencing or release of a convicted person after trial.

3. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 4, no person may maintain an action against the State or any public officer or employee for damages or injunctive, declaratory or other legal or equitable relief on behalf of a victim of a crime as a result of a violation of any statute enacted by the Legislature pursuant to subsection 2. No such violation authorizes setting aside a conviction or sentence or continuing or postponing a criminal proceeding.

4. A person may maintain an action to compel a public officer or employee to carry out any duty required by the Legislature pursuant to subsection 2.

5. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

6. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation having been first made, or secured, except in cases of war, riot, fire, or great public peril, in which case compensation shall be afterward made.

7. Except as otherwise provided in paragraphs (a) to (e), inclusive, the public uses for which private property may be taken do not include the direct or indirect transfer of any interest in the property to another private person or entity. A transfer of property taken by the exercise of eminent domain to another private person or entity is a public use in the following circumstances:

(a) The entity that took the property transfers the property to a private person or entity and the private person or entity uses the property primarily to benefit a public service, including, without limitation, a utility, railroad, public transportation project, pipeline, road, bridge, airport or facility that is owned by a governmental entity.

(b) The entity that took the property leases the property to a private person or entity that occupies an incidental part of an airport or a facility that is owned by a governmental entity and, before leasing the property:

(1) Uses its best efforts to notify the person from whom the property was taken that the property will be leased to a private person or entity that will occupy an incidental part of an airport or a facility that is owned by a governmental entity; and

(2) Provides the person from whom the property was taken with an opportunity to bid or propose on any such lease.

(c) The entity:

(1) Took the property in order to acquire property that was abandoned by the owner, abate an immediate threat to the safety of the public or remediate hazardous waste; and

(2) Grants a right of first refusal to the person from whom the property was taken that allows that person to reacquire the property on the same terms and conditions that are offered to the other private person or entity.

(d) The entity that took the property exchanges it for other property acquired or being acquired by eminent domain or under the threat of eminent domain for roadway or highway purposes, to relocate public or private structures or to avoid payment of excessive compensation or damages.

(e) The person from whom the property is taken consents to the taking.

8. In all actions in eminent domain:

(a) Before the entity that is taking property obtains possession of the property, the entity shall give to the owner of the property a copy of all appraisals of the property obtained by the entity.

(b) At the occupancy hearing, the owner of the property that is the subject of the action is entitled, at the property owner’s election, to a separate and distinct determination as to whether the property is being taken for a public use.

(c) The entity that is taking property has the burden of proving that the taking is for a public use.

(d) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, neither the entity that is taking property nor the owner of the property is liable for the attorney’s fees of the other party. This paragraph does not apply in an inverse condemnation action if the owner of the property that is the subject of the action makes a request for attorney’s fees from the other party to the action.

9. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, if a court determines that a taking of property is for public use, the taken or damaged property must be valued at its highest and best use without considering any future dedication requirements imposed by the entity that is taking the property. If property is taken primarily for a profit-making purpose, the property must be valued at the use to which the entity that is taking the property intends to put the property, if such use results in a higher value for the property.

10. In all actions in eminent domain, fair market value is the highest price, on the date of valuation, that would be agreed to by a seller, who is willing to sell on the open market and has reasonable time to find a purchaser, and a buyer, who is ready, willing and able to buy, if both the seller and the buyer had full knowledge of all the uses and purposes for which the property is reasonably adaptable and available.

11. In all actions in eminent domain, just compensation is that sum of money necessary to place the property owner in the same position monetarily as if the property had never been taken, excluding any governmental offsets except special benefits. Special benefits may only offset severance damages and may not offset the value for the property. Just compensation for the property taken by the exercise of eminent domain must include, without limitation, interest and reasonable costs and expenses, except attorney’s fees, incurred by the owner of the property that is the subject of the action. The district court shall determine, in a posttrial hearing, the award of interest and award as interest the amount of money which will put the person from whom the property is taken in as good a position monetarily as if the property had not been taken. The district court shall enter an order concerning:

(a) The date on which the computation of interest will commence;

(b) The rate of interest to be used to compute the award of interest, which must not be less than the prime rate of interest plus 2 percent; and

(c) Whether the interest will be compounded annually.

12. Property taken by the exercise of eminent domain must be offered to and reverts to the person from whom the property was taken upon repayment of the original purchase price if, within 15 years after obtaining possession of the property, the entity that took the property:

(a) Fails to use the property for the public use for which the property was taken or for any public use reasonably related to the public use for which the property was taken; or

(b) Seeks to convey any right, title or interest in all or part of the property to any other person and the conveyance is not occurring pursuant to subsection 7.

The entity that has taken the property does not fail to use the property under paragraph (a) if the entity has begun active planning for or design of the public use, the assembling of land in furtherance of planning for or design of the public use or construction related to the public use.

13. If any provision of subsections 7 to 12, inclusive, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the provisions or application of subsections 7 to 12, inclusive, which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of subsections 7 to 12, inclusive, are declared to be severable.

14. The provisions of subsections 7 to 12, inclusive, apply to an action in eminent domain that is filed on or after January 1, 2011.

[Amended in 1912 and 1996. The first amendment was proposed and passed by the 1909 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1911 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1912 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1909, p. 346; Statutes of Nevada 1911, p. 454. The second amendment was proposed and passed by the 1993 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1995 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1996 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1993, p. 3065; Statutes of Nevada 1995, p. 2880.]—(Proposed amendment passed by the 2007 Legislature; effective November 23, 2010, if agreed to and passed by the 2009 Legislature and approved and ratified by the voters at the 2010 General Election. See Statutes of Nevada 2007, p. 3595.)

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Liberty of Speech and the Press

Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all criminal prosecutions and civil actions for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the Jury; and if it shall appear to the Jury that the matter charged as libelous is true and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted or exonerated.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Right to Assemble and to Petition

The people shall have the right freely to assemble together to consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives and to petition the Legislature for redress of Grievances.

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Right to Keep and Bear Arms; Civil Power Supreme

1. Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.

2. The military shall be subordinate to the civil power; No standing army shall be maintained by this State in time of peace, and in time of War, no appropriation for a standing army shall be for a longer time than two years.

[Amended in 1982. Proposed and passed by the 1979 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1981 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1982 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1979, p. 1986; Statutes of Nevada 1981, p. 2083.]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Quartering Soldier in Private House

No soldier shall, in time of Peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of War, except in the manner to be prescribed by law.

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Representation Apportioned According to Population

Representation shall be apportioned according to population.

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Exemption of Property from Execution; Imprisonment for Debt

The privilege of the debtor to enjoy the necessary comforts of life shall be recognized by wholesome laws, exempting a reasonable amount of property from seizure or sale for payment of any debts or liabilities hereafter contracted; And there shall be no imprisonment for debt, except in cases of fraud, libel, or slander, and no person shall be imprisioned [imprisoned] for a Militia fine in time of Peace.

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Bill of Attainder; Ex Post Facto Law; Obligation of Contract

No bill of attainder, ex-post-facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts shall ever be passed.

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Rights of Foreigners

[Sec. 16 of the original constitution was repealed by vote of the people at the 1924 general election. See: Statutes of Nevada 1921, p. 416; Statutes of Nevada 1923, p. 407. The original section read: “Foreigners who are, or who may hereafter become Bona-fide residents of this State, shall enjoy the same rights, in respect to the possession, enjoyment and inheritance of property, as native born citizens.”]

Repealed in 1924.

Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Slavery and Involuntary Servitude Prohibited

Neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude unless for the punishment of crimes shall ever be tolerated in this State.

Section 18

Text of Section 18:

Unreasonable Seizure and Search; Issuance of Warrants

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable seizures and searches shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue but on probable cause, supported by Oath or Affirmation, particularly describing the place or places to be searched, and the person or persons, and thing or things to be seized.

Section 19

Text of Section 19:

Treason

Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, adhering to its enemies or giving them Aid and Comfort. And no person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

Section 20

Text of Section 20:

Rights Retained by People

This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.

Section 21

Text of Section 21:

Limitation on Recognition of Marriage

Only a marriage between a male and female person shall be recognized and given effect in this state.

[Added in 2002. Proposed by initiative petition and approved and ratified by the people at the 2000 and 2002 general elections.]

Section 22

Text of Section 22:

Eminent Domain Proceedings: Restrictions and Requirements

[Effective through November 22, 2010, and after that date unless the proposed repeal is agreed to and passed by the 2009 Legislature and approved and ratified by the voters at the 2010 General Election.] Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution to the contrary:

1. Public use shall not include the direct or indirect transfer of any interest in property taken in an eminent domain proceeding from one private party to another private party. In all eminent domain actions, the government shall have the burden to prove public use.

2. In all eminent domain actions, prior to the government’s occupancy, a property owner shall be given copies of all appraisals by the government and shall be entitled, at the property owner’s election, to a separate and distinct determination by a district court jury, as to whether the taking is actually for a public use.

3. If a public use is determined, the taken or damaged property shall be valued at its highest and best use without considering any future dedication requirements imposed by the government. If private property is taken for any proprietary governmental purpose, then the property shall be valued at the use to which the government intends to put the property, if such use results in a higher value for the land taken.

4. In all eminent domain actions, just compensation shall be defined as that sum of money, necessary to place the property owner back in the same position, monetarily, without any governmental offsets, as if the property had never been taken. Just compensation shall include, but is not limited to, compounded interest and all reasonable costs and expenses actually incurred.

5. In all eminent domain actions where fair market value is applied, it shall be defined as the highest price the property would bring on the open market.

6. Property taken in eminent domain shall automatically revert back to the original property owner upon repayment of the original purchase price, if the property is not used within five years for the original purpose stated by the government. The five years shall begin running from the date of the entry of the final order of condemnation.

7. A property owner shall not be liable to the government for attorney fees or costs in any eminent domain action.

8. For all provisions contained in this section, government shall be defined as the State of Nevada, its political subdivisions, agencies, any public or private agent acting on their behalf, and any public or private entity that has the power of eminent domain.

9. Any provision contained in this section shall be deemed a separate and freestanding right and shall remain in full force and effect should any other provision contained in this section be stricken for any reason.

[Added in 2008. Proposed by initiative petition and approved and ratified by the people at the 2006 and 2008 General Elections.]—(Proposed repeal passed by the 2007 Legislature; effective November 23, 2010, if agreed to and passed by the 2009 Legislature and approved and ratified by the voters at the 2010 General Election. See Statutes of Nevada 2007, p. 3598.)

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