Nevada Creation of a State Intermediate Appellate Court, Question 1 (2014)

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Question 1
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Nevada Constitution
Referred by:Nevada State Legislature
Topic:State judiciary
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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November 4
Question 1
Question 2
Question 3
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The Nevada Creation of a State Intermediate Appellate Court, Question 1 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in the state of Nevada as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure, which was referred to as SJR 14 in the legislature, would ask voters whether or not to amend the Nevada Constitution in order to create an Intermediate Appellate Court, also known as a court of appeals.[1]

If SJR 14 is approved, all appeals would still be filed with the Nevada Supreme Court, which would then be allowed to assign certain cases to the intermediate court. If the intermediate court is created, it would operate in already existing space in the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas, in an attempt to decrease costs.[2]

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot question will appear as follows:[3]

Shall the Nevada Constitution be amended to create a Court of Appeals that would decide appeals of District Court decisions in certain civil and criminal cases?

[4]

Ballot summary

The ballot summary reads as follows:[3]

EXPLANATION—This ballot measure proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution to create a Court of Appeals consisting of three judges. The Nevada Supreme Court would establish the types of District Courtdecisions to be heard by the Court of Appeals and also determine when a Court of Appeals decision may be reviewed by the Nevada Supreme Court.

A “Yes” vote would create a Court of Appeals within the existing court system.

A “No” vote would retain the existing court system.

DIGEST—Article 6 of the Nevada Constitution establishes the court system of the State of Nevada, which currently consists of the Nevada Supreme Court, District Courts, Justices of the Peace, and Municipal Courts. The Nevada Supreme Court is the only appellate court in Nevada that hears and decides all appeals from final judgments entered by Nevada’s District Courts. This ballot measure would create a Court of Appeals to decide some of the appeals currently decided by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court would establish the types of District Court decisions to be heard by the Court of Appeals and also determine when a Court of Appeals decision may be reviewed by the Supreme Court. This ballot measure would create, generate, or increase public revenue because existing law would require candidates for judgeships on the Court of Appeals to pay fees to run for judicial office. It also would create, generate, or increase public revenue because, if a party appeals a decision of the Court of Appeals to the Nevada Supreme Court, the Nevada Constitution would require the party to pay a fee for filing the appeal.

The Court of Appeals would consist of three judges, but this ballot measure would authorize theLegislature to increase the number of judges. The Governor would appoint the initial three judges from nominees provided by the Commission on Judicial Selection. The initial threejudges would be appointed to two-year terms. Thereafter, Court of Appeals judges would be elected to six-year terms at the general election. Additionally, the Supreme Court would assign, as needed, one or more Court of Appeals judges to serve part-time as supplemental District Court judges.

If this ballot measure is approved by the voters, Senate Bill No. 463 of the 2013 Legislative Session would carry out the constitutional provisions creating the Court of Appeals. [4]

Full text

The full text of the measure can be read here.[3]

Fiscal note

The fiscal note reads as follows:[3]

Financial Impact—Yes

The Administrative Office of the Courts has indicated that this ballot measure creating a Court of Appeals would require operating expenses of approximately $800,000 in FY 2015, relating to judicial selection, salaries, and other expenses for the administration of a Court of Appeals. However, the Legislature, in Assembly Bill No. 474 of the 2013 Legislative Session, approvedfunding to the Interim Finance Contingency Account for the initial implementation of a Court of Appeals in FY 2015, contingent upon the passage of this ballot measure. Therefore, no additional funding beyond that which has already been approved would be necessary for the operation of a Court of Appeals in FY 2015.

The Administrative Office of the Courts has indicated that ongoing costs for administration of a Court of Appeals, if approved by the voters, would be approximately $1.5 million per year. It is not known at this time, however, whether the Legislature and the Governor would choose to provide this funding from the State General Fund or from other sources.

Representatives of the Nevada Supreme Court have indicated that a Court of Appeals initially would be housed in existing court facilities in northern and southern Nevada, which would avoid the need for capital expenditures to establish a Court of Appeals. Thus, no immediate financial impact upon State government for capital costs is anticipated.

After the initial two-year terms of the three judges appointed to a Court of Appeals, candidates for future judgeships will be required by existing law to pay filing fees to the Office of the Secretary of State in order to seek judicial office. This will result in an increase in revenue to the State General Fund beginning in FY 2016, but the amount of the increase cannot be determined with any reasonable degree of certainty because the number of candidates cannot be predicted. [4]

Support

Arguments in favor

Supporters of this measure propose that an intermediate court would allow for expedited decisions on appealed issues, increase the efficiency of the Nevada legal system and free up the Nevada Supreme Court to investigate important cases more carefully.[2]

Background

Nevada voters rejected a state intermediate appellate court in 2010 when Question 2 was defeated by a 53 percent majority.

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Nevada Constitution

According to Article 16, Section 1 of the Nevada Constitution, an amendment proposed by the legislature must be approved by a majority in both the House and Senate in two consecutive legislative sessions. If twice approved by the legislature, the amendment then goes to the ballot where voters decide whether or not to ultimately pass it.

On May 24, 2014, SJR 14 completed this process, putting this intermediate appellate court question on the ballot.[5][6][7]

Senate vote

April 14, 2011 Senate vote

Nevada SJR 14 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 16 76.19%
No523.81%

Senate vote

May 20, 2013 Senate vote

Nevada SJR 14* Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 21 100%
No00%

Assembly vote

May 13, 2011 Assembly vote

Nevada SJR 14 Assembly Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 32 80.00%
No820.00%

Assembly vote

May 28, 2013 Assembly vote

Nevada SJR 14* Assembly Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 40 100.00%
No00%

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See also

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