In the interest of informing the public, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada welcomes media coverage of legal matters before the Court subject to the important restrictions further detailed below. As noted, the Court’s procedures are designed to strike the appropriate balance between respecting the rights of the litigants that appear before the Court, the public, and the press.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada does not allow electronic devices in the courtroom for the purpose of making telephone calls, taking photographs or audio or video recording of transmission. See General Order 2022-06.

The Court uses an electronic case filing (ECF) system, which makes docket information and other documents available via the internet. A PACER account will be necessary to access these files. 

The Federal Courts

There are local, state, and federal court systems. They each have completely separate personnel, administration, and facilities, but cases may move from one system to another depending on a variety of legal circumstances. We will only be talking about the federal court system here.

The federal courts have three main levels: district courts (the trial court), circuit courts (which are the first level of appeal), and the Supreme Court of the United States, the final level of appeal in the federal system. There are 94 district courts, 13 circuit courts, and one Supreme Court in the U.S.  For more information, visit the Department of Justice’s Introduction to the Federal Courts page.

U.S. district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters. Two territories of the United States, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, have U.S. district courts that hear federal cases, including bankruptcy cases. 

The District of Nevada has courthouses located in Las Vegas and Reno. Congress currently authorizes the Court seven district judges, four bankruptcy judges and seven magistrate judges. Active and senior judges hear civil and criminal cases that fall under federal law. Decisions are appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”).  

The Ninth Circuit is an appellate court that reviews trial courts’ procedures and decisions to ensure the proceedings were fair and that the proper law was applied correctly in the trial courts within the 15 judicial districts that comprise the Ninth Circuit.

Congress currently authorizes the Ninth Circuit 29 appellate judgeships. Active and senior judges of the Ninth Circuit hear appeals of decisions in cases that have been decided by U.S. district courts. An appellant, the party who appeals a district court’s decision, usually seeks reversal of that decision. Oral arguments are heard by a three-judge panel. Parties may petition for a case to be heard or reheard en banc. An en banc panel in the Ninth Circuit consists of 11 randomly selected judges. The chief judge of the circuit presides over the hearing. The Ninth Circuit operates somewhat differently than other circuits. Most circuits hold en banc hearings with all judges in that court of appeals. But due to the large number of judges in the Ninth Circuit, en banc hearings are held with 11 judges.

Following a final appellate court ruling, parties to the case can then petition with the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling. At its discretion, and within certain guidelines established by Congress, the Supreme Court may grant or deny the petition. The Supreme Court hears a small percentage of cases it is asked to review each year. If the petition to review the ruling is denied, then the appellate court’s ruling stands.

The Ninth Circuit also provides administrative support to the district courts. More specifically, the Office of the Circuit Executive (“OCE”) was created by statute to provide professional administrative staffing to circuit councils. The OCE provides administrative support to the Judicial Council of the Ninth Circuit and its various committees. It also provides direct services to all 64 judicial court units in the circuit.

Links to Pacer Records System

Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER, is the judiciary’s electronic method of providing access to court dockets and copies of documents filed with the court. You may register for PACER online. There is no registration fee but there is an established user fee for access to PACER. For more information on PACER fees, and circumstances in which PACER use is free, see “PACER Pricing: How fees work.”

Via PACER, you can examine the docket for a particular case, which will provide the names of all parties, the names and contact information for the attorneys of record and an itemization of every document filed in the case by name, filer, and date. Case documents are accessible from the docket via hyperlinks.

PACER provides online access to dockets (case information) for a fee of $0.10 per page, though the first $30 of charges per quarter per user are waived. Register here.