Lawmakers OK more judges | NevadaAppeal.com

Lawmakers OK more judges

Associated Press

The Nevada Supreme Court succeeded in getting key measures approved by the 2009 Legislature, including one that adds more district judges in Reno and Las Vegas and a resolution to create a new appeals court.

Chief Justice Jim Hardesty, who supported several proposals aimed at easing expanding court caseloads, said the approval of nine new district judges in Las Vegas and one in Reno plus the potential intermediate appeals court would help the judiciary be more effective.

Besides AB64, providing for the new judges who will be chosen in the November 2010 elections, lawmakers also approved AB65, increasing fees for filing civil lawsuits to pay for the judges.

Fees went from $151 to $250 for most civil lawsuits, and jumped to $349 for complex class action cases, such as construction defect suits. Gov. Jim Gibbons signed both bills Thursday.

Several bills died, including one supported by Washoe Family Court Judge Chuck Weller to stiffen penalties for crimes against judges and others in the justice system.

AB99 also allowed judges to keep personal information confidential and made it a crime to file false liens against a judge to intimidate or harass. The bill was passed by the Assembly but died in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Weller, wounded in 2006 by a rifle shot from a husband who had murdered his wife the same day and was angry over the judge’s handling of their divorce case, said he had worked hard on the measure and was disappointed.

“It cleared two committees and won unanimously in the Assembly, but it never got out of committee

in the Senate,” he said. “No one spoke in opposition to it in the Senate. I think it died because of the session.”