SAM MORRIS / LAS VEGAS SUN FILE
Monday, Sept. 28, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Steve Grierson, the top executive officer in District Court, can’t heap enough praise on the folks at the Clark County Election Department.
That’s because all 36 of the department’s employees, including the boss, Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax, have helped county court officials whittle away the overflow of case files stored at the Regional Justice Center.
Since June, about one-third of the literally tons of files stored in a fourth floor room, which is about half the size of a football field, have been carted away, scanned into the court’s computer system and shredded.
The result is that for the first time in years people can actually walk through the room without bumping into boxes of court documents. Boxes are no longer piled on top of the 7-foot-high metal shelves jammed with files or stored in the aisles and along the walls.
Grierson said officials have estimated that since June, more than 3 million pages of documents in nearly 2,500 boxes have been removed and scanned into the computer system.
It’s all part of the court’s move to go paperless, which is expected to be more efficient and save taxpayers money and time in the long run. Mandatory electronic filing for all cases is coming Feb. 1.
Lomax said his employees were able to help with the project because they’re in a lull between elections. The workers expect to continue their efforts until December, when they must start gearing up for the busy 2010 campaign season.
Grierson hopes to use his own people to finish the job within six months after that.
And when the job is complete, court officials will find themselves with needed office space to help them deal with a flood of new judges coming on board in the next couple of years.
District Judge Michelle Leavitt has ordered the Clark County Commission to rescind a June 2 vote that reduced a cost-of-living raise for veteran prosecutors in the district attorney’s office from 3 percent to 1 percent.
Following a hearing last week, Leavitt sided with the Clark County Prosecutors Association and ruled from the bench that the commission’s action violated the collective bargaining agreement between the parties.
That agreement calls for all prosecutors with more than two years’ experience to get a 3 percent raise this year. The average salary for those prosecutors is roughly $128,000.
The association, which represents about 150 deputy district attorneys, had filed a writ in District Court challenging the commission’s vote.
The vote was part of the county’s efforts to save money during tough economic times and reflected the limited raises other county workers are getting. The Service Employees International Union, which represents 9,500 county employees, had agreed to the 1 percent pay hike for the 9,500 county employees it represents.
Attorney Bill Terry, who represents the prosecutors association, has prepared a formal order for Leavitt to sign.
County officials, who have the option of appealing the order, declined to comment.
All seven Nevada Supreme Court justices showed up Friday for a small ceremony in the lobby of the Regional Justice Center honoring the 100th anniversary of the creation of Clark County District Court.
Chief Justice James Hardesty said it all began in 1909 when about 3,000 Clark County residents scraped together $1,800 to build the first courthouse. Today, with the towering $185 million Regional Justice Center, the court serves more than 2 million residents.
Chief District Judge T. Arthur Ritchie Jr. pointed out some of the high-profile cases that have made their way through the modern court system — the battle over Howard Hughes’ will, the MGM Grand fire litigation and the murder trials over the death of casino boss Ted Binion.
The Nevada Judicial Historical Society presented county commissioners with a plaque in honor of the centennial year.