Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

I’d Like A New Judge, Please – Peremptory Challenges

Every party to a law suit wonders if the assigned judge is going to be fair.  Every lawyer asks the very same question.  The next question often follows: “This Judge is not a good fit for my case.  Can I get a different judge?”

Coin toss The most common way to request a different Nevada District Court judge is to exercise a peremptory challenge.  In the case of Smith v. Eighth Jud. Dist. Ct. ex rel. County of Clark, 107 Nev. 674, 677, 818 P.2d 849, 852 (1991), the Nevada Supreme Court said that “peremptory challenges are mechanisms designed to ‘insure a fair tribunal by allowing a party to disqualify a judge thought to be unfair or biased.’ “.  The Court also said that a peremptory challenge can be used when a litigant is concerned that the judge may be biased or unfair, whether such belief is real or imagined.

Nevada Supreme Court Rule 48.1 outlines how to request a peremptory challenge.  The challenge must be filed no later than 10 days after notification to the parties of a trial or hearing date, or not less than three days before the date set for the hearing of any contested matter, whichever, occurs first.  The notice must be signed by a party or by an attorney, and must state the name of the judge to be changed.  However, the challenge must not specify the grounds for the challenge, or be accompanied by an affidavit.  The fee for filing this challenge is $300.00.  The clerk of the court must randomly reassign the case to another judge within two days of the notice of peremptory challenge having been filed.

A decision as to whether to exercise a peremptory challenge must be wisely considered.  The attorney must not only know the judge that is currently assigned, but must be able to compare the assigned judge to other judges that might be randomly assigned.  Because we practice regularly before the court, the attorneys at Mills & Associates have the experience to give recommendations on this important tactical decision.  Please contact us with any question about this or other topics on this blog.

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