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15 of 17 Nevada district courts do not have online access, study says | Local Nevada

Fifteen of Nevada’s 17 district courts do not provide access to case information online, and only one allows the public to view documents online, according to a report released this week.

The report, commissioned by the Nevada Open Government Coalition and co-sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, found that courts are trying to improve access, but face obstacles due to lack of funding and staff time.

The state Administrative Office of the Courts is using $25 million in funding from the US bailout plan to expand electronic filing of court documents, but it is not a given that it will also provide public access online, according to a news release from the coalition. And the policies for when people have to pay for records are inconsistent.

“The right of access to court proceedings is a fundamental tenet of our democracy and a fair trial of justice,” the report said. “However, all too often, members of the public, media and advocacy groups face obstacles and challenges when seeking information about legal issues addressed by state and federal court systems.”

District courts in Nevada handle lawsuits, criminal cases and divorces. They are not united, but run through local authorities.

The coalition said it began investigating court staff in February and discovered “a patchwork of policies and rules that can complicate the public’s access to legal documents.”

In Clark County, the district court provides full online access, meaning the public can view case information and documents online. Washoe County has access to case information online, but a separate process to obtain the records.

None of the other district courts have a way for the public to view records online, but all have a remote option, such as email or fax, which the report says is important in rural counties where courthouses can be far from where people live.

Change may come. According to the report, Pershing County District Court hopes to have an online system within the next five years. Churchill County District Court expects to have a new system that will allow target and calendar searches sometime this year.

However, fees for records remain an obstacle, and the policies for them are also inconsistent. Some courts, like Lincoln County District Court, said they don’t waive fees. Others, such as the Douglas County District Court, waive them for the government. Humboldt County District Court said it waives them depending on the case.

Journalist Daniel Rothberg conducted the research for the report, which was also sponsored by The Nevada Independent, Our Nevada Judges and This is Reno.

Contact Noble Brigham at [email protected]. Follow @BrighamNoble on X.

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