CARSON CITY, NV - Leadership at the Nevada Supreme Court will change on January 6, 2014, with Chief Justice Kristina Pickering stepping down after a productive year and turning over the reins of the state’s Judicial Branch to incoming Chief Justice Mark Gibbons.
Chief Justice Pickering has served in the administrative position since January 2013 and represented the Judiciary at the Nevada Legislature, where 166 bills were passed that affect Nevada’s courts. She gave the State of the Judiciary address to lawmakers on March 1, 2013.
The legislative measure with the greatest potential impact on the Judicial Branch, Nevada’s businesses, and citizens was Senate Joint Resolution 14, which will let voters decide whether to amend the constitution and establish a Nevada Appellate Court. Every legislator present voted in favor of placing the issue on the November 2014 ballot.
“Passage of the Nevada Appellate Court matter to bring Nevada in line with all but 10 other states will be a priority of my term as Chief Justice,” Justice Gibbons said. “The appellate court will help streamline the court system and be a positive step forward for the citizens of Nevada and the state’s business community.”
“As Chief Justice, I would like to congratulate Nevada’s district judges for their diligence in dramatically improving their case clearance rate at a time when many courts are seeing declines in staff and funding,” Chief Justice Pickering said. “Nevada’s courts at all levels have been very effective in resolving cases brought to them in a fair, timely, and legally correct way. Details about the accomplishments of our courts can be found in the Annual Report of the Nevada Judiciary.
“Technology has allowed the Supreme Court to take major steps in our commitment to making our proceedings as open and accessible as possible,” Chief Justice Pickering added. “Technology has opened lines of communication between the Supreme Court and the public it serves that were unimaginable a decade ago.”
The Chief Justice is administrative head of the state’s legal system, speaking publicly for the Court and representing the Nevada Judiciary nationally.
The Chief Justice presides when the Supreme Court sits as the full court, but does not serve as a member of a three-justice panel to hear cases. The Chief Justice, however, does substitute for other justices on panels who must recuse because of conflicts. This means the Chief Justice still assumes significant caseload duties in addition to the extensive administrative and public duties.
Under the Nevada Constitution, only Justices in the last two years of their current 6-year term of office are eligible to be Chief Justice. Chief Justice Pickering and Justice Gibbons chose to share the duties, with Chief Justice Pickering assuming the position for the first year of the cycle.