Newly created Nevada appeals court resolves first cases |

Newly created Nevada appeals court resolves first cases

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

Less than three weeks after they were sworn in as Nevada’s first appellate court judges, appellate Chief Justice Michael Gibbons Wednesday signed the three member panel’s first decisions.

The first case decided by the voter-approved court upheld the conviction of Johnny William Johnson on two counts of attempted murder in Las Vegas.

In addition, the court, which also includes Jerome Tao and Abbi Silver, has resolved 11 civil cases and 33 other criminal appeals.

That means those cases will not have to be dealt with by the seven-member Nevada Supreme court.

Nevada voters approved creation of the appeals court Nov. 4, amending the state constitution. Under the plan, all appeals from district court still go directly to the Nevada Supreme Court. But now the high court can assign cases to the appellate court to resolve.

Those cases “pushed down” to the appeals justices can’t be pushed up to the Supreme court.

“This is a historic moment for the legal community and Nevada,” said Chief Justice Jim Hardesty of the Supreme Court. “The judiciary promised the Court of Appeals would immediately go to work and this accomplishment confirms our promise.”

He said the Supreme Court expects to assign up to 700 cases a year to the appeals court, lifting some of the load on the high court and allowing it to spend more time on cases that have more far reaching, precedential issues.