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State grants pardon to former Nye Commissioner convicted of bribery

Naoka Foreman
Naoka Foreman
Criminal Justice
Photo of the top front of the building with the words Supreme Court of Nevada

The state pardons board has granted an unconditional pardon to a former Nye County commissioner charged nearly a decade ago with attempting to bribe another county official.

Former Nye County Commissioner Peter Liakopoulos, who was granted the pardon on Wednesday, was convicted in 2009 on charges of bribery after asking a Pahrump Town Board member to appoint his wife as curator for a veterans museum, in exchange for his vote for a county sales tax increase. Ultimately, his wife did not get the job, and he voted against the tax change.

He was charged with several crimes, including grafting by a public official and offering a reward for an appointment. In 2010, the state Supreme Court overturned two of the three convictions, but did not change his sentence of five years probation, 500 hours of community service and attendance at an ethics class at his own expense.

When Justice Elissa Cadish asked Liakopoulos if he took responsibility for the actions that lead to his conviction, he said he felt pressured into making a promise to vote for the tax increase, but that “I should have been truthful with the lady, regardless of the circumstances.” 

“I think the mistake that I made, even when you’re lying to a liar, it’s still a lie,” Liakopoulos said. “And I believe that is the biggest mistake that I made.”

The pardons board consists of the governor, the seven justices of the state Supreme Court and the attorney general. It typically meets twice yearly and has wide latitude to reduce sentences or pardon individuals. Those actions include nullifying the consequences of the original conviction, such as loss of voting rights, loss of the right to bear arms, or any occupational licensing restrictions.

Members of the board voted to grant Liakopoulos an unconditional pardon, including restoration of the right to bear arms, with Gov. Steve Sisolak, Attorney General Aaron Ford and Cadish voting no.

Pardon board members were also scheduled to hear a request from former Lyon County Public Administrator, Jason McClean, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of embezzlement in 2008. His application was denied as he did not appear at the meeting.

As a public administrator, McLean secured and administered the money and property of deceased people, with court approval, if an heir was not immediately apparent. 

According to court documents, McLean stole $9,900 from the estate of a deceased person and used it as partial payment for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He pleaded guilty in exchange for the dismissal of three additional embezzlement charges.

Correction (Sept. 23, 2022 at 11:55 a.m.): This story was corrected to reflect that Gov. Steve Sisolak also voted against the Liakopoulos pardon.


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