Nevada is ringing in the New Year with a Court of Appeals. The November election ballot brought new and exciting changes to the judiciary system. Nevada voters finally voted to approve an amendment to the Nevada Constitution to create an Intermediate Appellate Court or Court of Appeals.
On January 5, 2015, the three appointed Court of Appeals Judges – Jerome T. Tao, Michael P. Gibbons, and Abbi Silver, took the oath of office in a ceremony held in the Nevada Supreme Court in Carson City. Among those present at the ceremony were Chief Justice James W. Hardesty and the Justices of the Supreme Court.
The legal community is looking forward to having this new Court of Appeals. Nevada was one of only ten states in the country without an Appellate Court. The Supreme Court was congested with thousands of cases and therefore, the Nevada Supreme Court Justices’ caseloads were one of the highest in the country. It is the hope of the legal community that this new Court will streamline cases through the litigation process more quickly and efficiently. There is optimism that it will create more time for the Supreme Court Justices to spend on the more difficult cases and have time to publish more written opinions giving Nevadans more legal guidance.
All appeals are still filed with the Nevada Supreme Court. Then, the Supreme Court Clerk decides whether to assign the cases to the Court of Appeals or stay in the Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals is currently using an already existing space in the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas and is already hearing cases!
2015 is off to a great start with this historic addition to Nevada’s legal system.