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Maribeth Beyer and Tyler Lisea Present Oral Argument Before Ninth Circuit

Pepperdine Caruso Law third-year students Maribeth Beyer and Tyler Lisea presented an oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals as part of their participation in the Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy Clinic. Beyer and Lisea represent Brendan Nasby, an inmate in Nevada state prison. Nasby is the plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging that Nevada prison officials have adopted an unconstitutional policy that prevents prisoners from accessing legal materials. Nasby contends the policy prevented him from learning of a decision by the Nevada Supreme Court that could have allowed him to seek a retrial of his criminal conviction.  Because Nasby was denied access to the prison law library, he did not learn of this decision until seven years later, when it was too late for him to bring a timely claim. Nasby represented himself in the trial court, and defendants successfully moved for summary judgment.

Nasby appealed to the Ninth Circuit, which appointed the Pepperdine Caruso Law Ninth Circuit Appellate Advocacy clinic to represent him.  The appeal raised several thorny procedural issues and was one of the most complex cases that the clinic has ever handled.  Beyer and Lisea filed an opening brief and a reply brief on Nasby’s behalf and then participated in oral argument before a three-judge panel. The judges asked many questions of both sides and expressed serious concerns about the constitutionality of Nevada’s prison library policies.  The court continued asking questions of Beyer and Lisea after their time had expired, and then thanked both students for their excellent briefing and argument.  The court has not yet issued its decision.