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The Nevada Court of Appeals is the intermediate appellate court in the judicial system of Nevada. The court was created by a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that was approved by voters on November 4, 2014.


"Historically, the Supreme Court has had the highest number of filings of all states without an appellate court. In 2014, each Supreme Court Justice handled a caseload of roughly 354 cases per year. This means nearly one case every day had to be heard and decided by each Justice."[1]

For years, the Nevada Supreme Court lobbied the legislature to create an intermediate appellate court. Attempts to create one all failed at the ballot box in 1972, 1980 and 1992, and 2010. The 2010 attempt was narrowly rejected by 53% of the 670,126 votes cast.[2] The same issue appeared again as Question 1 on the November 4, 2014 ballot, which was narrowly approved by Nevada voters by a 54 percent to 46 percent margin.[3] Nevada then immediately established a Nevada Court of Appeals.[3]

This court will hear roughly one-third of all cases submitted to the Nevada Supreme Court in a deflective model, where the Supreme Court will assign cases to a three-judge Court of Appeals. This is similar to systems used in other states, including Iowa, Idaho, and Mississippi.

All appeals are still filed with the Supreme Court of Nevada, but are then screened to determine whether they involve truly novel issues of law or important issues of public policy, as opposed to contentions that the trial court erred by failing to apply existing precedent. Based on historical data, about one third of future Nevada appeals are expected to fall into the latter category and will be reassigned to the Court of Appeals, thereby enabling the state supreme court to focus on deciding hard questions in the remaining cases. In turn, appeals from the decisions of the Court of Appeals to the Supreme Court will be at the discretion of the Supreme Court, as with intermediate appellate courts in other states.


At its inception, the court of appeals consisted of three judges appointed by governor Brian Sandoval. All three were elected to full terms in the 2016 general election.[4]


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  2. ^ "State Ballot Questions". Nevada Secretary of State. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  3. ^ a b Ritter, Ken (11 November 2014). "Officials setting up new Nevada Court of Appeals". Reno Gazette-Journal. Gannett. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
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