As of July 1, the newly formed 11th Judicial District became a reality, under a measure that was passed by the State of Nevada Legislature and signed by Governor Brian Sandoval the last week of May, 2015. This change was made to reduce travel time for judges and allow districts the ability to manage caseloads in a more efficient manner.
Judge Jim Shirley of Lovelock will be hearing cases within our new district, as three counties – Pershing, Lander and Mineral County came together to form Nevada’s first Eleventh District. Judge Shirley had commented that he would be working with Judge Wagner, as the pro bono judge who assists as a consulting overseer.
Wagner expressed his confidence in the change, also reminding the public that he had his own past connection to this county. “I know this will be a cooperative effort, so we can get the services and things we need.” Judge Wagner explained that there is a change in philosophy when working with juveniles. This adjustment will also benefit every district, but there are specific laws that apply to populations under 100,000.
Appearing before the Mineral County Commissioners meeting held on June 17, a discussion was held to express the changes and verify some adjustments ahead. Shirley availed himself to make this a smooth transition. There was an emphasis upon the juvenile segment with relationship to law enforcement, communicating with social workers in prevention mode, guarding kids against neglect and abuse, creating a community watch and working closely with Jr. Probation who can assist in drug testing, counseling, in home checks and parental resources.
Judge Shirley expressed to MCIN, “The mindset toward juvenile delinquency needs hope, because they don’t get better by sending them off to prison. We need gaps filled. Counselors need to be available and we should be fueled by better programs. Local prevention is the best answer for our court systems.”
The mention of using a school resource officer was also slated for the future. Shirley has worked with Wagner over the span of many years. He was sworn in by Wagner six times in his career – first as an attorney, then as Pershing’s Deputy District Attorney, then as Pershing County District Attorney in 2003, 2007 and 2011.