There are two types of judges of the district court: district judges and district magistrate judges. District Judges exercise the full power and authority of the court. District Magistrate Judges have jurisdiction over probate, juvenile offenders, child in need of care through the trials. Trials on misdemeanors, traffic, wildlife and parks citations,cigarette and tobacco infractions and limited civil actions, protection from abuse and stalking orders. Felony cases through arraignment. They may also determine child support orders. And they have concurrent jurisdiction with district judges in civil actions not exceeding $10,000.00 and not containing questions on real estate. They may sign arrest and search warrants in their districts.
Both district and district magistrate judges are selected in one of two ways, either by partisan election or selection by a judicial nominating commission. Clark County is in the 16th Judicial District which is an elected district, where the judges stand for partisan election every 4 years. The 16th Judicial District has 3 district judges and 5 district magistrate judges. The district judges stand for election in each of the 6 counties in the district, the district magistrate judges stand for election in their county of residence.
In merit selection districts, when a vacancy in a judgeship occurs, a judicial nominating commission interviews candidates and recommends two or three persons to the governor for consideration. The governor then appoints one of these as a judge to fill the vacancy. Judicial nominating commissions are made up of lawyers and non-lawyers who live in the district.
The district judge is a constitutional officer and at least one district judge or district magistrate judge is designated per county. In the multi-county districts a district judge covers all the counties in the district, the district magistrate judges may also cover more than one county. In the 16th District the magistrates travel to Ford County at least one day a week to hear cases. In the more populous counties, the district court may have several district judges.
The decisions of a district magistrate judge are appealable within the district court to a district judge. Appeals from decisions of district judges go to the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals as specified by statute.