Nevada Court Records

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This entry was originally written by Nell Sachse Woodard and Dwight A. Radford for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Nevada Family History Research series.
History of Nevada
Nevada Vital Records
Census Records for Nevada
Background Sources for Nevada
Nevada Maps
Nevada Land Records
Nevada Probate Records
Nevada Court Records
Nevada Tax Records
Nevada Cemetery Records
Nevada Church Records
Nevada Military Records
Nevada Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections
Nevada Archives, Libraries, and Societies
Ethnic Groups of Nevada
Nevada County Resources
Map of Nevada


Shortly after the territory of Nevada came into being on 2 March 1861, President Lincoln named James Nye as governor and appointed three newly designated federal district judgeships. The bulk of the cases involved the handling of litigation regarding mines and mining, but there were some criminal cases as well.

In general, the modern court system follows the pattern of the other southwestern states. There are four levels of jurisprudence, beginning with the municipal court, which handles only civil cases against city/local ordinances. Currently there are twenty-three judges of these courts. The next step upward is the justice court, composed of sixty-two judges. They also have jurisdiction over civil cases, but this includes injunctions in domestic problems as well. This level is followed by the district court, which has thirty-four judges. These courts handle both civil and criminal cases, divorces, probate, minors, and appeals from the lower courts. The highest court is the Nevada State Supreme Court, made up of five justices who hear appeals from the lower courts, review district court cases, and accept writs.

Each level of the court system has its own offices, clerks, and records maintenance. Thus if a case is pursued at any of these courts, the search must be made in the office holding jurisdiction over the respective records. The Administrative Office of the Courts, Supreme Court Building, 201 S. Carson, Ste. 250, Carson City, NV 89701-4702, will provide the proper court and its address.

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