Here's an article about the Nevada Court system that we hope you will read, and share, because it's important.
Nevada Supreme Court Bogged Down.
NPR reports today that the Nevada Supreme Court is the busiest in the nation, and that's a very bad thing. Why? Because Nevada is one of just 10 states with no intermediate appeals court, our judges are simply overwhelmed by cases. It means that any time a case is appealed, whether divorce, probate, personal injury, civil rights, or whatever, it has to go to the state supreme court rather than first passing through a mid-appellate court.
What does this mean for the citizens of Nevada? It means that results can take years to go through court, then even more years to go through appeals. The Nevada Supreme Court is just flooded by cases. Nevada has more than 330 cases filed per Supreme Court justice per year. To get a sense of how bad that is, Arizona, with a population three times that of Nevada, has around only 200, and Utah, with a very similar population to that of Nevada, has only about 100. Both of those states have appellate courts that help resolve many of the appellate cases.
Nevada Chief Justice James Hardesty asks "Do you want us working on precedential-setting cases, the most important cases... or do you want us to resolve drivers' license revocations or inmate disputes?" (source)
Why don't we have an appeals court?
Many states created appeals courts in the 60s and 70s, as state populations grew and court systems were re-worked. However, Nevada experienced most of its growth in the past 30 years, so we missed that wave of reform. Additionally, establishing an appeals court here requires a constitutional amendment to be approved by voters. Nevada voters have been suspicious of changes to the court system, and wary of the expense.
What do we need to do?
Nevada needs an appellate court. Our court system deserves to be free to face tough issues, and our population deserves quick justice for their legal issues. Right now we've got neither.
This election cycle, both political parties and the entire legal community are behind this change to the Nevada legal system. But there's no money to make people aware of how important this is. That's why it's important you share this information.
The cost of an appeals court is only about 1.5 million dollars. That's less than one hundredth of one percent of our state budget, and it would mean years of relief for countless Nevada citizens, and it would take financial pressure off of programs such as the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
It's time Nevada moved forward on this important issue.