Geoff Dornan

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January 9, 2014
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Fallon district judge, high court justices file

Tenth Judicial Court Judge Thomas Stockard of Fallon filed for re-election this week as did two incumbent Supreme Court justices.

Stockard ran in 2012 to finish the six-year term of Judge David Huff, who died earlier in the year. Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed Stockard to the bench in July 2012, and he ran for election in November.

He was recommended by the commission to the governor after a nondisclosed vote. Prior to becoming a judge, Stockard served as Churchill County chief deputy district attorney.

Stockard said all 88 district court judges are up for election this year. As for Stockard, he said he has settled into his role behind the bench.

“I do enjoy the job,” Stockard said Wednesday. “I work with some of the finest lawyers in the sate. It has been my honor to serve the people of Churchill County.”

Before the governor’s appointment, Stockard said he spent 15 years working “on the other side of the bench.” As a judge, Stockard said he likes family law cases by trying to help couples reach a resolution and to help them share custody of their children.

Stockard has also presided over two recent jury trials.

Kris Pickering filed for a second six-year term as fellow justice Mark Gibbons filed for his third term in office.

Gibbons, who assumed the position of chief justice on Monday, used the opportunity to urge support for the ballot question that would create an intermediate appellate court between the district courts and Nevada Supreme Court.

The justices have long argued that their workload is among the heaviest in the nation because every appeal from district court must be reviewed by the seven members of Nevada’s high court. Gibbons said an intermediate appellate court would reduce that load, enabling justices to focus more on the important, precedent-setting cases.

Pickering, who was chief justice last year, agreed, saying one price Nevada pays for not having the intermediate court is not having as many published opinions that lawyers and lower courts can use to establish precedent.

She pointed out that while the court is keeping up, there were more than 2,300 cases filed in 2013 and the high court’s backlog remains above 1,800 cases.

No one has announced plans to challenge Gibbons or Pickering.

Asked why there are so few challengers to sitting judges, Pickering said that if judges are perceived as doing a good job, in most cases there won’t be a challenge. She said that’s why she waited until Justice Bill Maupin retired before seeking the office five years ago.

Pickering is the only member of the high court who wasn’t a district court judge before seeking the office.

LVN Editor Steve Ranson contributed to this story.

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Jan 20, 2014 03:32PM Published Jan 9, 2014 06:51PM Copyright 2014 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.