CARSON CITY—After 13 years spent in prison under a wrongful conviction, Reginald D. Mason, also known as Reginald D. Hayes, was granted a Certificate of Innocence and awarded $975,000 by the State of Nevada. Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Douglas W. Herndon entered stipulated orders on Dec. 9, 2020, which Attorney General Aaron D. Ford fully supported, according to a statement from Ford’s office.
The compensation for Mason was made possible through NRS 41.900, passed by legislators as Assembly Bill 267 in 2019, which allows for persons wrongfully incarcerated to receive compensation. To benefit under the law, individuals must prove, “by a preponderance of the evidence, that they did not commit the crime for which they were convicted, were not an accomplice, and did not otherwise cause their own conviction,” according to a statement by the Attorney General.
Ford’s office shared the details of Mason’s case:
“In 1985, when he was only 14-years-old, Mason was convicted by the State of Nevada of four counts of Attempted Murder with Use of a Deadly Weapon and one count of First Degree Murder with Use of a Deadly Weapon. However, less than a year later, the presiding judge resigned following a preliminary emergency investigation by the Nevada Supreme Court. This investigation eventually revealed willful misconduct beginning a year before Mason’s trial.
“In 1988, the State agreed to permit Mason to enter a nolo contendere plea to reduced charges of First Degree Kidnapping and he was released on a time-served sentence on November 19, 1998. The following year, Mason received a unanimous pardon from the State of Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners based on his actual innocence.”
Ford said he was elated with the current outcome for Mason. “Time was stolen from him at a young age and no one can replace that,” Ford said. “The pursuit of justice is paramount to the mission of my office and I could not be prouder of the attorneys in my office who worked on this case to obtain justice for Mr. Mason.”
Source: Nevada Attorney General’s Office