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May 22, 2015

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Nevada chief justice pushes for appeals court

CARSON CITY — Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Pickering said Friday the number of appeals filed with the state’s high court is growing faster than justices can turn out decisions.

The court has one of the highest, if not the highest, number of cases per justice in the nation, she said in delivering her State of the Judiciary Message to the Nevada Legislature.

In 2012, 2,500 cases were filed with the court, she said.

Pickering urged lawmakers to approve a proposed constitutional amendment that could be presented to voters in 2014 to create an intermediate three-judge court of appeals.

A proposed constitutional resolution was passed by the 2011 Legislature and was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee this session.

Pickering said voters in 2010 turned down a similar plan, but the public must be made aware of the serious problem in delay of court decisions. In her prepared remarks, she said the growing backlog poses problems for individuals, small and large businesses, and the state.

Furthermore, she said, a recent poll by the Retail Association shows demographics of the state are changing and Nevadans now favor a court of appeals by 48 percent to 41 percent.

“Nevada is at a turning point where voters are starting to realize that we are no longer that little state we all grew up in,” Pickering said.

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