Las Vegas Sun

April 16, 2014

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Report: Nevada Supreme Court, Clark County justices carry heavy caseloads

Compared with other counties and states, Nevada judges see a lot of cases

Justices of the Nevada Supreme Court carry a heavier case load than many other similar states, according to a report released today.

The Annual Report of the Nevada Judiciary shows that each Nevada Supreme Court justice had an average of 333 cases assigned to him or her during fiscal year 2013. The state closest to Nevada's number — when comparing other states that, like Nevada, do not have a court of appeals — is Virginia, with 303 cases per judge.

The seven-member Nevada Supreme Court is pushing hard for Nevada voters to approve a court of appeals, which is on the election ballot in 2014.

The report, prepared by the Administrative Office of the Courts, shows that Nevada Supreme Court justices handed out 2,375 orders during the fiscal year, 100 more than in fiscal year 2012. But there were still 1,879 cases pending as of June 30.

"This is one of the highest, perhaps the highest, caseload of mandatory-review cases per justice in the country," Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Pickering said. "The numbers show the unrelenting demand for court services in Nevada. Despite limited resources and declines in staffing, Nevada courts have continued to meet the needs of Nevada business and citizens."

Nevada's judicial system had a budget of $61.8 million for fiscal year 2013, with $20.8 million spent on the salary of justices and district judges, according to the report.

Cases filed in district courts rose to 381,363, up from 373,986 in fiscal year 2012.

The 52 Clark County district court judges had an average of 1,840 cases — an increase of 18 cases per judge over fiscal year 2012 and the highest caseload in the state — the report says. District judges handed out 98,586 decisions, down from 104,363 in fiscal year 2012.

That compares with Washoe County's 15 judges, who had an average caseload of 1,308. The lowest caseload is in the Seventh Judicial District — which encompasses Eureka, Lincoln and White Pine counties — with 400 cases for each of the two judges.

Cases filed in justice courts in Clark County numbered 70,860, compared with 66,879 in fiscal year 2012. The justices decided 64,246 cases, up from 60,340 in fiscal year 2012.

Copies of the 54-page report are available at the Administrative Office of the Courts in Las Vegas or Carson City.

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