Gov. Brian Sandoval names appellate justices including Douglas County’s Michael Gibbons

Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday named the three justices who will be the first to sit on Nevada’s newly-created appellate court.

That puts the new court on course to begin hearing cases in January as planned by Supreme Court Justice Jim Hardesty who spearheaded creation of the new court.

They are Jerry Tao, Michael Gibbons and Abbi Silver.

Sandoval made the selections from a list of three finalists for each post presented by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection. A spokesman said that panel received more than 30 applications from interested jurists and lawyers across the state.

Gibbons is currently a district judge in the Ninth Judicial District representing Douglas County. He has been elected to four six-year terms in that position. His brother Mark currently serves as a member of the Nevada Supreme Court.

Tao is currently a district judge in Clark County who has served since January 2011 when he was appointed by Sandoval. He also has worked as a prosecutor in Clark County as well as a public defender. He was elected to the district court bench in November.

Silver is also a current judge, in Clark County’s eighth Judicial District where she was first elected in 2009. She also has been a prosecutor in Las Vegas and was Chief Deputy District Attorney in the Special Victims Unit. She has also served in municipal court and Las Vegas Justice Court.

The appointments fill the three new appellate posts until the next General Election at which time the posts will become elective offices just like all other Nevada judgeships.

The voters in November authorized creation of an intermediate court between Nevada’s district courts and the Supreme Court.

All appeals still will be filed with the Nevada Supreme Court. The way the new court will work is that the high court will then “push down” cases to the appellate court. Hardesty said the idea is to have the appellate court decide the more standard appeals, freeing up the high court to spend more time on the eighty, potentially precedent-setting cases.


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