Las Vegas Sun

July 22, 2014

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Nevada chief justice pushes for appeals court

CARSON CITY — Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Pickering said Friday the number of appeals filed with the state’s high court is growing faster than justices can turn out decisions.

The court has one of the highest, if not the highest, number of cases per justice in the nation, she said in delivering her State of the Judiciary Message to the Nevada Legislature.

In 2012, 2,500 cases were filed with the court, she said.

Pickering urged lawmakers to approve a proposed constitutional amendment that could be presented to voters in 2014 to create an intermediate three-judge court of appeals.

A proposed constitutional resolution was passed by the 2011 Legislature and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this session.

Pickering said voters in 2010 turned down a similar plan, but the public must be made aware of the serious problem in delay of court decisions. In her prepared remarks, she said the growing backlog poses problems for individuals, small and large businesses, and the state.

Furthermore, she said, a recent poll by the Retail Association shows demographics of the state are changing and Nevadans now favor a court of appeals by 48 percent to 41 percent.

“Nevada is at a turning point where voters are starting to realize that we are no longer that little state we all grew up in,” Pickering said.

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  1. "The real problem is that the US legal system is too complicated. Fix the laws and you won't need so many appeals."

    Bob -- I disagree. The problem is the low quality of the average sitting judge. So long as a judge can sign anything without personal consequence, nothing will change. This a threshold point, since 1) a judge is only a signature, and 2) a bad judge's signature not only wipes out the loser but ALL the laws, including our Constitutions. If the law and the facts favor you, why is going to court today still like rolling the dice??

    "The legal system has also been wounded by lawyers who themselves no longer respect the rule of law ..... When lawyers cannot be trusted to observe the fair processes essential to maintaining the rule of law, how can we expect the public to respect the process?" -- the Honorable Edith Jones to Harvard's Federalist Club "American Legal System Is Corrupt Beyond Recognition, Judge Tells Harvard Law School" 2/28/03

  2. The law is about "interpretation" and as long as we have human beings with all their "interpretations" of the law, and some, who believe they can break the law, because "They CAN," we will have long waits for assumed "justice" in our American courts.

    Congratulations to Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Pickering, for trying to bring attention to this longtime problem. Thank you.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star