For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Bays
775.321.4307 (o); 775.771.6049 (c)
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office has announced that a Reno man has been sentenced to 13 years in prison following a conviction for possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The prosecution was the result of an investigation conducted by the Northern Nevada Repeat Offender (ROP) Unit and based on the defendant’s lengthy criminal history that included seven (7) prior felony convictions, this office sought and received habitual criminal status for sentencing. The sentencing range for the charge is normally 1-6 years imprisonment.
Fernando James Valle, Sr., age 54 (dob(12/4/63) from Reno was sentenced last week in District Court by Judge Connie Steinheimer to 13 years in prison with parole eligibility after 5 years. Valle pled guilty on October 5, 2017 to one count of Own or Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person.
In late, 2015, ROP Detectives began an investigation involving Valle, a known felon, when they learned he had sold ammunition to a Carson City pawn shop on three occasions between November, 2016 and March 2016. Detectives also learned that Valle and a female associate had entered a Reno pawn shop in April, 2016 and pawned a shotgun. Valle was seen on store video holding the firearm and subsequently arrested for the violation.
At sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Bruce Hahn argued that Valle squarely fit the Nevada Supreme Court criteria of increasing the penalty for recidivist felons. He further argued that Valle had repeatedly chosen to associate himself with persons in possession of weapons and ammunition prior to this offense and his felony record showed an increasingly dangerous propensity. When sentencing Valle, the judge noted she had personally warned Valle numerous times of his eligibility for the enhancement statute. Based upon this record and his “many chances” before other courts for numerous misdemeanor convictions, she found it “just and proper” based on his record for the special sentencing enhancement.
The Washoe County District Attorney’s Office continues to work closely with the Northern Nevada Repeat Offender Program on cases involving the prosecution of habitual criminals. The goal of this partnership is to prevent new victims from falling prey to these career criminals by securing lengthy prison sentences against them.