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County Commissioners will consider courthouse makeover today

The Las Vegas Sun reports that the Clark County Commission will consider a courthouse makeover today as part of a proposed $142 million allocation for one-time capital projects. The courthouse plan would cost $14.7 million if approved and would involve renovations to make room for six new District Court judges.

The article notes that the County has not considered an alternative plan of expanding the courthouse hours to include nights and weekends. This option could be especially viable in Family Court, which is to receive five of the six new judges. Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani has urged court administrators to consider this alternative, but does not believe that they have taken the idea seriously. Assistant County Manager Liz Quillen said the county and court officals have started to gather information on other jurisdictions, but have not had the opportunity to determine whether night court makes sense. Quillen also opined that the private bar would not do it.

Personally, I think there are a number of attorneys who would consider working the evening shift - both as a means of acquiring clients who don't want to miss work for daytime court appearances and as a means of either handling their own family circumstances or work time preferences. Also, as for the Family Court judges - a large number of divorces are handled by parties without attorneys. Night court could be an excellent option for these litigants.

The article makes no mention of the option of moving the Marriage Licensing division of the Clerk's Office to another location. This would permit judges to remain at the Regional Justice Center rather than other downtown buildings and would also help with traffic and nuisance problems created by wedding chapels.

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