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About the Nevada Judiciary

 
 

 

The Nevada Judiciary is one of three branches of government; the other two are the Executive and Legislative branches. The Nevada Judiciary has the responsibility to provide impartial, efficient, and accessible dispute resolution in legal matters.

Most of the public is familiar with or has contact with the Municipal and Justice Courts as these are the courts that handle traffic and parking citations and lesser civil filings. Both of these courts have limited jurisdictions.

The Municipal Courts manage cases involving violations of traffic and misdemeanor ordinances that occur within the city limits of incorporated municipalities. Each of these courts is funded by the city and most of the funds collected by the Municipal Court go into the municipalities' general fund. In July 2014, Nevada had 17 municipal courts that were presided over by 30 municipal judges with 8 of them also serving as justices of the peace.

The Justice Courts handle misdemeanor crime and traffic matters, small claims disputes, evictions, and other civil matters less than $10,000. The justices of the peace also preside over felony and gross misdemeanor arraignments and conduct preliminary hearings to determine if sufficient evidence exists to hold criminals for trial at District Court. Each county funds Justice Courts and the funds collected by the courts go to their respective county treasurer for disbursement to county and state entities. In July 2014, Nevada had 42 justice courts presided over by 67 justices of the peace with 8 of them also serving as municipal court judges.

The District Courts have general jurisdiction over all legal disputes. These are the courts where criminal, civil, family, and juvenile matters are generally resolved through arbitration, mediation, and bench or jury trials. The judges also hear appeals from Justice and Municipal Court cases. The funding for District Courts is split between the state and counties. District Court judges' salaries are paid by the state while the county pays for support staff and court facilities. The 17 county courts in Nevada are divided into 11 Judicial Districts presided over by 82 judges.

The Supreme Court is the state's highest court and its primary responsibility is to review and rule on appeals from District Court cases. The court does not conduct fact-finding trials; rather, the justices determine if legal or procedural errors were committed during the case. The Supreme Court is funded almost equally from the state general fund and from administrative assessments. The Supreme Court has seven justices.

The Nevada Court of Appeals is assigned to hear roughly one-third of all cases submitted to the Nevada Supreme Court in a deflective model, where the Supreme Court assigns cases to the three-judge Court of Appeals.