Sean Rowe, Mineral County District Attorney, was directed to lead the discussion regarding the redistricting.
“I’ve supported altering Mineral County’s judicial district in the past for logistical reasons.” Rowe addressed the audience and board.
In speaking with Chief Justice James Hardesty, Rowe supports the idea of taking the current Sixth District Judicial district and dividing it. This district consists of Lander, Pershing and Mineral counties.
“After looking at the caseload numbers, I believe this would be a favorable match,” said Rowe.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Hardesty addressed those in attendance and asked, “Is the access to justice what you want it be?”
“I feel the judges in this district are operating under the most unusual circumstances. With the growth in Pahrump and the case load increase in Pahrump and with the commutes that they make from Pahrump to Mineral County, their service to their state and their districts are to be admired,” said Hardesty.
“As Chief Justice, I look at caseloads across the district…what I found is if we created a new district with Lander, Pershing and Mineral, you begin to level out the caseloads that exist in Nye County and Esmeralda but also the districts in Humboldt. All the central districts begin to level out.”
The more caseloads, the longer it takes for that case to go to court. A simple car accident case in Clark County can take three years to go to trial.”
Explaining that the American Bar Association recommends that each sitting judge has a caseload of 700, the two judges in the Fifth District judges have a caseload near 1,200.
In the new district, the case load would be 784 cases not to include the shorter travel time. The cost to operate the district is fairly minimal.
“This is a proposal. If you think this is beneficial to your communities then you should support it. If you don’t think it is beneficial to your communities, you shouldn’t support it, but have a fair evaluation of it. Discuss the benefits. The pros and cons. No one is here with a secret agenda.”
“At the end of the day all I care about as the Chief Justice of this state, is that we deliver timely, effective, efficient judicial services to the citizens of this state. That’s our objective. That’s our goal. That’s what we should do,” said Hardesty.
Commissioner Cliff Cichowlaz asked if the possibility of closing the district court for Mineral County to save money was an option. Hardesty told the commissioners that the decision of closing the court was not up to him.
Both Pershing and Lander counties voted unanimously to support the 11th Judicial District in Nevada.
Kimberley Wanker, current Fifth District judge, addressed the audience stating that her office has made headway in getting Mineral County more connected to the Fifth District but was told by Rowe’s office not to come up due to the redistricting bill.
Mineral County Commissioners Cichowlaz and Jerrie Tipton voted unanimously to support AB 435 – realignment of certain judicial districts.