Appellate court a reasonable way to cut backlog

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This editorial originated in Wednesday’s edition of The Record-Courier.

We hate messing with the Nevada Constitution, especially from the ballot box, but the time may have come to allow an alteration to the operations of the Nevada Supreme Court.

As presented by Justice Jim Hardesty, the proposal in Question 1 seems like a reasonable way to reduce the workload of Nevada’s highest court.

According to Hardesty, the Appellate court wouldn’t be an additional layer of judicial bureaucracy that would just be another step above the district court.

Instead the Supreme Court would use its current case management system to move about 700 cases down to the appellate court where they would be decided and done.

Those cases include such things as drivers license revocations and inmate disputes, things that probably should never have been on the supreme court’s docket in the first place.

Using existing space, and money recovered by the court itself, the cost of the appellate court will be essentially neutral, according to Hardesty. We’re talking about three judges, three secretaries and six clerks, which would come to about $1.5 million.

And those 700 cases a year would make a huge difference in the Supreme Court’s caseload, where pending cases are increasing at almost 200 a year.

In Douglas County, streamlining the appeals process might mean getting cases like the Riverwood or Jobs Peak Ranch lawsuits settled more quickly. It might mean getting an answer to a legal question in six months instead of a year, in a year instead of four.


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