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"Ballot Question 1" Would Change NV Court System

PHOTO: A faster court system could result, if Nevadans vote to approve a ballot measure that would create a Court of Appeals, according to Herb Santos with the Nevada Justice Association. Photo courtesy of the Superior Court of California.
PHOTO: A faster court system could result, if Nevadans vote to approve a ballot measure that would create a Court of Appeals, according to Herb Santos with the Nevada Justice Association. Photo courtesy of the Superior Court of California.
October 31, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. - As Nevadans head to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 4, they will consider a ballot measure that would change the state's court system. Herb Santos, an attorney and president at the Nevada Justice Association, says the result would help clear up court backlogs.

'Ballot Question 1' would amend the State Constitution to create a Court of Appeals, consisting of three judges. Opponents point out Nevada has functioned without a Court of Appeals for 150 years. Santos says a faster court system would benefit all participants in the legal process.

"We need to have a court system which will provide the public with speedy access to justice," says Santos. "There's the old saying 'justice delayed is justice denied,' and that proves true due to the increasing backlog of the appeals in Nevada."

Those opposed to the ballot measure also say that in the past, Nevada has hired more judges to handle increased workloads.

Santos says a Court of Appeals could free up the Supreme Court to concentrate on cases which can set legal precedent.

"The Court of Appeals would take a lot of that backlog because they would decide more of the routine cases which would allow the Supreme Court to focus on precedent-setting, published opinions, which is what we as lawyers uses to basically advise our clients," he says.

Santos points out the Nevada Supreme Court is one of the nation's busiest, because the Silver State is one of only 10 states that does not have a Court of Appeals. He adds each of the seven Supreme Court Justices handle over 300 cases per year. The American Bar Association (ABA) recommends an appellate court judge work about 100 cases annually.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV