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Our Nevada Judges sues Sparks judge after being denied media access to a court hearing 

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A local attorney is facing a hit-and-run charge, and Our Nevada Judges has been denied access to her hearing in Sparks Justice Court.

Alex Falconi, who runs Our Nevada Judges, a website that documents by video court cases around the state, said the denial in this case is “very odd.”

He said, after initially having issues with Washoe County’s Second Judicial Court, most local judges are granting access to have Our Nevada Judges personnel take video of court proceedings.

That is until Sparks Justice Court’s Judge Kevin Higgins denied on Dec. 23, 2022 Falconi’s request for media access to the court hearing.

“I recorded other cases with the same exact media request and had no issues at all,” Falconi said.

Higgins, however, alleged Falconi’s request was unclear.

“The Court does not find that the Request is clear as to what Our Nevada Judges is asking for and therefore, cannot [sic] grant the Request at this time,” Higgins wrote.

Falconi said the request was no different from other cases he’s covered locally, including in the same Sparks court.

The case involves a local divorce and family attorney, Jaymie Mitchell, who had a domestic violence protection order filed against her in early December alleging she had “a complete mental breakdown” and endangered her son. 

Falconi filed his media request Dec. 15, 2022.

A court document indicated that the protection order was filed at the recommendation of a Child Protective Services social worker “to give the school more authority if Jaymie was released from jail and attempted to take him out of school.” 

The person filing it requested it be dissolved on Dec. 21, 2022.

District Court Judge Dixie Grossman, however, dissolved the protection order after Falconi filed his media request. She then canceled a mid-January hearing on the matter.

Two court hearings in the case, however, are still pending alleging the hit-and-run and an assault, Falconi said. The hit-and-run case is the one in front of Higgins.

Falconi said believes Mitchell’s status as an attorney contributed to the denial of his media request.

“If this wasn’t the Mitchell case, if it was any other case, he probably would have granted the media request,” he said. 

Falconi’s petition against Judge Higgins notes: 

“Because Judge Higgins summarily denied the request without making the particularized findings under [Supreme Court rules] and because the Sparks Justice Court’s official form was used and filled out correctly in Our Nevada Judges’ request, Our Nevada Judges is left with no recourse but to request the issuance of a writ from this Court to compel Judge Higgins to comply with [Supreme Court rules].”

Falconi, with the help of the ACLU, sued the Eighth Judicial District Court in Las Vegas after similar media access denials. The Nevada Supreme Court granted him an initial win in that case in August. That case is still pending.

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Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.

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