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July 22, 2014

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Nevada Legislature 2013:

Legislators hope second time is a charm for court of appeals

Although voters rejected the idea in 2010, the Nevada Senate has unanimously passed a proposed constitutional amendment creating a three-judge intermediate court of appeals to be based in Las Vegas.

Supporters of Senate Joint Resolution 14, the second attempt to put the issue before voters, said an appeals court would accelerate the decisions on appeals from district courts and help business to come to Nevada.

“We have to come out of the dark ages,” said Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas. "Appeals could be decided in six months instead of three years.”

This measure goes to the Assembly and, if passed, will be on the 2014 ballot.

Voters in 2010 defeated an intermediate court between the district court and the Nevada Supreme Court 53.1 percent to 46.8 percent. It lost in every county except Clark.

Senators said there was a crushing load on the Supreme Court. Sen. Mark Hutchison, R-Las Vegas, said that in 2015, the court would be faced with 3,300 cases.

Sen. Justin Jones, D-Las Vegas, said there is a commitment by the Supreme Court, the state Bar and litigators to raise money to explain the issue to the voters.

Jones also said businesses looking to locate consider the judicial system.

Sen. Ben Kieckhefer, R-Reno, said he voted against the resolution in the 2011 Legislature but has changed his mind.

“Going back to the voters is wise,” he said, adding the caseload facing the Supreme Court is “overwhelming.”

If approved by the voters, the governor will appoint the three judges to two-year terms, then candidates would have to run for election to six-year terms.

Segerblom said the court would cost several hundred thousand dollars, but he and other senators said it would speed up justice.

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