Washoe County Provides Clarification on Relationship with District Court

As the result of numerous media inquiries Washoe County has received about the reporting relationship between Washoe County government and the District Court, below is information to clarify this issue:

Is the Washoe County District Court under the jurisdiction of Washoe County government?

No. All District Courts (regardless of where they physically conduct business) are under the authority of the State Administrative Office of the Courts, which is an office of the Nevada Supreme Court. This is in compliance with the Nevada Constitution, Article 3, Section 1 which sets up three distinct branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial.

If the County doesn’t have oversight jurisdiction over the District Court, what is its relationship?

Washoe County provides for the reasonable and necessary expenditures of the Court through the annual County budget approved by the Washoe County Commission. However, administrative and operational functions of the District Court are done by the Court itself. These include financial and human resources management.

Does Washoe County conduct annual audits on the District Court?
Washoe County does not have authority to conduct or even request annual audits of the District Court. Again, the County does not have oversight authority over the District Court; the Nevada State Supreme Court does through the State Administrative Office of the Courts.

In 2008, however, Washoe County’s internal auditor was asked by the District Court to conduct an audit of their operations in an effort to reduce costs of meeting the State’s audit requirement; the County performed this audit at no cost to the District Court. The audit results were presented in a County Commission meeting in November, 2008. No follow up to that audit was requested of the County, nor were subsequent audits ever requested Does Washoe County have an insurance policy that would cover any potential loss of funds in the District Court due to embezzlement? Washoe County has an insurance policy through our Risk Management program that allows us to recover, under certain circumstances, loss of funds due to employee dishonesty. We believe this policy would apply to District Court funds since Washoe County is responsible for their budget allocations from public revenue sources such as property tax and sales tax revenues. However, until an investigation of any allegations regarding District Court funds is complete, it is premature to speculate whether the County would file or prevail in a claim.

Who should be contacted for questions regarding an on-going investigation?

Washoe County Sheriff Deputy Armando Avina should be contacted for any questions of this nature. He can be contacted at 328-6370 or 771-8252.

Who should be contacted for questions regarding District Court operations?

Court Administrator Howard Conyers can be reached at 328-3119.

Who should be contacted for questions regarding oversight of the District Court?

The Nevada Supreme Court’s Administrative Office of the Courts at 684-1700.