Nevada judiciary sees 11 percent reduction in non-traffic filings
December 13, 2016
In fiscal 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court saw a 2 percent increase in case filings, a total of 2,452.
The high court and the intermediate appellate court disposed of 2,565 cases. That leaves 1,740 pending cases between the two courts as of June 30.
The lower courts, however, saw significant increases in filings. Justice courts reported a 13 percent increase in criminal matters. District courts reported a 10 percent increase in family matters
Juvenile filings, however, decreased by 10 percent.
Overall, the state's judiciary saw an 11 percent reduction in non-traffic filings — 374,567 cases in fiscal 2016.
The primary problem facing the courts regarding case filings is the continued decline in traffic violations, which have decreased in each of the past seven years. That becomes an issue because, as the report points out, administrative fees assessed on those misdemeanor offenses make up a large part of the funding that supports the judicial branch.
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The number of traffic and parking cases decreased by 3 percent in 2016. Those cases still account for more than half the total caseload on the court system with 413,868 filings. But that is down dramatically from the 559,716 traffic cases filed in 2012.
The Supreme Court itself disposed of 1,840 cases in fiscal 2016. That is 504 fewer cases than the year before, primarily because 637 cases were transferred to the newly created intermediate appellate court.
The largest percentage of cases at the Supreme Court are criminal — 39 percent of the total. Civil appeals make up 35 percent of the workload while juvenile and family matters are 5 percent. The "other" category makes the remaining 21 percent.
At the intermediate court, the numbers are quite different with criminal appeals making up 73 percent of the caseload and civil appeals just 26 percent.
One of the prime reasons for creation of the intermediate court was to reduce the backlog of pending appeals at the Supreme Court. After 18 months of operation, the report says pending appeals have been reduced by 18 percent from 1,985 to 1,629.
"This shows that the addition of the Court of Appeals is improving access to justice in Nevada by providing for faster resolution of cases," the report argues.
It was also intended to give the Supreme Court justices more time to write opinions and they did — but only nine more than the previous year, a total of 96.
The 1st Judicial District, which includes Carson City and Storey County, had a total of 7,551 non-traffic cases filed in Fiscal 2016, 2,310 in district court which works out to 1,155 for each of the two judges.
The rest were handled in Justice Court. Those totals include 2,846 criminal, 3,360 civil, 1,195 family and 150 juvenile filings.
District Judges Todd Russell and James Wilson along with JP's Tom Armstrong and John Tatro in Carson and Eileen Herrington in Virginia City disposed of 6,921 of those cases. Those totals don't include the 9,679 traffic cases filed and handled almost entirely at the JP level.
Douglas County's 9th Judicial District reported 4,915 non-traffic cases for the year. That includes 2,470 criminal, 1,430 civil, 946 family and 69 juvenile cases. Just 1,805 of those cases were before district judges Tom Gregory and Nathan Young. That works out to 902 apiece.
The rest, along with nearly all 11,198 traffic cases, were handled by Justices of the Peace Tom Perkins and Richard Glasson.
In Churchill County's 10th Judicial District, there was a total of 2,056 district court filings. Of those, 1,178 were family court cases and 399 juvenile filings. The criminal caseload was just 306 and civil caseload 173. Judge Tom Stockard handled all 2,056 of those cases.
When the cases filed in New River Justice Court and Fallon Municipal Court are added in, the total was 4,084 non-traffic plus another 5,036 traffic cases.
The 3rd Judicial District covers Lyon County. District Court judges Leon Aberasturi and John Schlegelmilch split the 1,829 district court caseload.
The district also includes three justice courts — Canal, Dayton and Walker River — and two municipal courts — Yerington and Fernley.
Altogether, those courts reported 5,975 non-traffic cases and another 7,941 traffic cases. District court handled 283 criminal, 278 civil, 919 family and 349 juvenile cases.