FBI Service Martyr John Bailey

FBI  Service Martyr John Bailey – Update, 9/10/18


            On June 25, 1990, FBI agent John Bailey was fatally shot while intervening in a bank robbery at Las Vegas, NV.  John ‘s murderer, Jose Echavarria was later arrested, tried and sentenced to death.

            During the period of his incarceration, Echavarria filed numerous pro se petitions seeking his release.  All were denied until 2015, when U.S. District Court judge Miranda Du granted Echavarria’s habeus corpus petition and ordered him to be freed or retried.  The petition was based upon Echavarria’s assertion that his original trial judge may have been biased in favor of the prosecution, although a review of the trial transcripts by the Nevada Supreme Court previously found no evidence of bias.

            The Nevada Attorney General (NAG) immediately appealed Judge Du’s ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Surprisingly, on July 25, 2018, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit upheld Judge Du’s ruling.

            On September 7, 2018, representatives of the Society’s Information Committee spoke with representatives of the office of the NAG and determined the following:

  • It would likely be unproductive to request an en banc hearing at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Consequently on 8/1/18, the NAG filed a Motion to Stay the Appeals Court ruling pending the submission of a petition for a writ of certiorari to be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Traditionally such petitions are not addressed for a year or more, during which time Echavarria will remain incarcerated.
  • The NAG believes the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse the 9th circuit ruling, but in the event it does not, the case will be retried at Clark County, NV.
  • Contrary to media reports indicating such a retrial would face logistical difficulties, the NAG advised the original evidence remains available and there is high confidence a new trial would result in a re-conviction.
  • The NAG’s office provided assurance it will continue to consider this matter as a priority and will never “drop the ball” in addressing it.

The Society’s Information Committee will continue to closely follow this case with the NAG and report on its progress to Society membership.

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