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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

As a court employee, I often get the question, “how do I get out of jury duty?” Those who really have a hardship can get out of serving. But those who just don’t feel like serving could be missing out on an experience that is not only interesting, but might help them navigate the law in their own lives. We might be better off using reverse psychology and telling people that only a very special, select group of people get to serve; then, everyone would want to serve. Most judges have a story about a potential juror who tried to get out of serving and then ended up really liking the experience.

At District Court, we get tours from judges and court employees from around the world including: China, Russia and the Ukraine. They don’t use juries; but, they are definitely interested in the American system of jury trials. Our justice system is respected and viewed as a model worldwide. Jury trials are one of the many rights guaranteed by the Constitution that make the United States exceptional.

Bethany Barnes with the Las Vegas Sun interviewed judges and got a sample of the excuses people use to skate out on jury duty http://lasvegassun.com/news/2014/feb/28/dog-ate-my-summons-and-other-unique-excuses-get-ou/.

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Image              Family Court is now accepting applications from attorneys interested in serving as Pro Tem Hearing Masters in Domestic Violence/TPO, Child Support/Paternity, Mental Commitment, Guardianship, Juvenile Delinquency and Dependency, Discovery and Truancy Courts.  This recruitment occurs on a regular basis to insure that trained attorneys are available to assist the Court in those roles. Anyone who is interested is required to submit an application, whether they have previously served as a Pro Tem Hearing Master or not.  Applications from interested attorneys are due on or before March 28, 2014.

            Attorneys who apply should be aware that specific training will be required of any who are selected, prior to sitting as a Pro Tem Hearing Master.  They should also be aware of opinions of the Standing Committee on Judicial Ethics and Election Practices which would affect them, including Opinions JE 99-004 and JE 04-003.

             Those who are interested in applying for the first time, or in continuing to serve as a pro tem, should contact Angelica Baltier at baltiera@clarkcountycourts.us or 455-4622 to receive an application.

            Following the due date, applications will be reviewed and selections made.  It is possible that more individuals than the number necessary will apply.  Thus, applicants will be notified whether they have been accepted and, if accepted, when their training will occur.

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Six judges were in attendance for the Dec. 10 Civil Bench Bar meeting. Recent Supreme Court decisions were a prominent topic. Lawyers who are looking to use Power Point presentations in cases were advised to look at 59703 – Watters v. State another opinion of particular interest 55817 Perez V. State http://supreme.nvcourts.gov/ . Judge Kenneth Cory will be taking on the docket from the outlying areas. A civil case reassignment to distribute Judge Cory’s civil caseload will be effective Jan. 4. The next Civil Bench Bar will be Jan. 14 at 12:05 p.m.

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Congrats Judge Elliott! You have made a big difference in the lives of many.

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Judge Jennifer Elliott was honored for her 10 years of service to the Dependency Mothers Drug Court program. WestCare Nevada presented Judge Elliot a plaque at their annual graduation ceremony Sept. 19.

Judge Jennifer Elliott launched the specialty court aimed at helping moms with addiction and has been presiding over the dependency mothers’ drug court since 2008. It is a program that has helped to get many mothers away from the clutches of addiction and into the arms of their children. The legacy of what she accomplished since 2008 will carry on for generations.

WestCare Nevada provides a wide spectrum of behavioral health services including treatment for substance abuse. Their services are available to adults, children, adolescents and families.

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Judge Jennifer Elliott was honored for her 10 years of service to the Dependency Mothers Drug Court program. WestCare Nevada presented Judge Elliot a plaque at their annual graduation ceremony Sept. 19.

Judge Jennifer Elliott launched the specialty court aimed at helping moms with addiction and has been presiding over the dependency mothers’ drug court since 2008. It is a program that has helped to get many mothers away from the clutches of addiction and into the arms of their children. The legacy of what she accomplished since 2008 will carry on for generations.

WestCare Nevada provides a wide spectrum of behavioral health services including treatment for substance abuse. Their services are available to adults, children, adolescents and families.

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District Court Judge Jack Lehman, who established the first adult drug court in Nevada, passed away Sept. 14 at the age of 89. Judge Lehman’s obituary is posted online and includes his significant accomplishments and very rich work history.  http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/rgj/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=186671056

According to his Obituary, “Jack died peacefully at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, CA, surrounded by his family. His legacy is one of survival and perseverance, labor and devotion, laughter and love, and a ceaseless desire to improve the lives of those around him. Contributions in Jack’s honor can be made to the Jack and Lulu Lehman Scholarship Fund, to provide educational opportunities for graduates of the Las Vegas Juvenile Drug Court. Checks can be made payable to the California Community Foundation, specifying Jack and Lulu Lehman Scholarship Fund in the memo, to 221 S. Figueroa St. Suite 400 Los Angeles, CA 90012.”

The Lehman Scholarship Fund has been set up by Steve Lehman and Jessica Lehman Hirsch to the honor their father, Judge Jack Lehman, who established the first drug court in Nevada in 1992. Scholarships will be awarded to graduates of the Eighth Judicial District juvenile drug court program who demonstrate an interest in furthering their education as part of their path to a better life in recovery.

Judge Lehman lived a full and very productive life and he will truly be missed. Judge Jack Lehman January 27, 1928- September 14, 2017.

 

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The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) School-Justice Partnership Summit will be held on Sept.15 from 8 a. m. to 3 p.m. at Family Court Campus/Child Haven, 701 North Pecos, Las Vegas, Red Rock Training Room – 701 Building K2. The focus of the Summit will be developing effective methods to reduce school truancy and juvenile delinquency rates in Clark County.  Effective programming for schools, school/police diversion programs, positive school climate, restorative practices, early warning systems, trauma informed classrooms and judicially led school justice partnerships will be the priorities of the day.

Truancy and school dropout are viewed as a gateway to crime and a lifetime of challenges. The Clark County  School District is the fifth largest school district in the U.S., serving more than 300,000 students at 358 schools. The district reports alarmingly high dropout and teen pregnancy rates. “Everyday we see teens in court who started out skipping school and progressively go down the path to serious crime,” said Juvenile Court Judge William Voy. “This summit is a way to discuss best-practices that work to address the growing crisis of pathways to criminal activity with our community youth.”

Those who have been working this issue in the trenches will share their knowledge including: Judge Steven Teske, Clayton County, Georgia will present proven strategies used in Georgia to reduce truancy rates and the impact on referrals to the juvenile justice system including: Kevin Bethel, Retired Deputy Police Commissioner, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, currently of Center for Children’s Law and Policy; Theresa Bohannan, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Kori Hamilton, Educational Specialist, National School Climate Center.

A panel discussion of Las Vegas leaders will discuss the efforts of community agencies to reduce truancy rates and juvenile court referrals with community leaders including: District Court Judge William Voy; Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson; Dr. Tammy Malich, Asst. Superintendent CCSD; Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick and Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani.

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is the nation’s oldest judicial membership organization and focused on improving the effectiveness of our nation’s juvenile and family courts. A leader in continuing education opportunities, research, and policy development in the field of juvenile and family justice, the 2,000-member organization is unique in providing practice-based resources to jurisdictions and communities nationwide.

 

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Attorneys who practice family law should attend the Bench-Bar meeting Thursday, Sept.14 at noon, in courtroom 9 at Family Court, 601 North Pecos Road.

Presiding Judge Charles J. Hoskin will give important information and updates. Revisions to NRCP 16.2 and 16.205 are on the agenda for discussion. The Outsource Provider List Steering Committee will be another hot topic; and attorneys will have the opportunity to bring up issues during an open forum. Pro Bono Volunteers Dan Lovell, Esq. and Arturo Sanchez, Esq. will also be recognized.

Attorneys who can’t make this meeting, can mark their calendars for the next Family Bench-Bar on Nov. 16 at noon.

Discovery Commissioner Bonnie Bulla

Eighth Judicial District Court Discovery Commissioner Bonnie Bulla

Civil Bench Bar meetings are a great place for attorneys to learn tips to tighten up their practice. The next Civil Bench-Bar is Sept. 12 at noon in courtroom 10D with great information on how to tap the potential of settlement conferences and overflow, plus other useful topics and Nevada Supreme Court case summaries.

At the August Civil Bench Bar meeting, Discovery Commissioner Bulla offered up some useful tips in preparing for the early case conference and finalizing the case conference report, and engaging in the discovery process.

Her top 10 tips include the following:

1 Discuss at the early case conference how the parties will exchange or distribute electronic discovery.

The parties should take the time to develop search terms for electronically stored information (ESI). Protocols should also be developed to exchange or distribute the information. Such protocols should be included in the case conference report. The parties can also prepare a separate stipulation setting forth ESI protocols.  At a minimum, how the parties will handle or exchange the distribution of electronic discovery should be discussed at the early case conference.

Discussion should include a potential stipulation for a claw-back provision, especially if the parties expect they will be exchanging a significant amount of ESI.  With a claw-back provision, if the parties inadvertently disclose documents, they can be returned to a party who inadvertently disclosed them.  Under state law, Nevada currently does not have a claw-back provision. If the parties decide to have a claw-back provision, the stipulation to the provision should be included in the joint case-conference report.

Deposition issues should be discussed during the early case conference. Discuss the location and timing of depositions. If a deposition is going to take more than one day (seven hours), the parties must stipulate to that. The parties should also discuss alternative methods of taking depositions. Alternative methods may provide an economical or logistical solution for an out-of-state or foreign deposition. Make it clear if depositions will be taken by videoconference, telephone (if appropriate) or Skype. Alternative methods may not always be appropriate, especially if there are a number of documents that have to be discussed.

Proportionality is another important topic. The number of depositions that you need to take in a case should be discussed during the early case conference. Depositions that support claims or defenses should be the focus of your discovery efforts.

Damages should be discussed, particularly special damages. The Plaintiff should define and provide a calculation of special damages (a computation of damages should be provided such as but not limited to medical bills, repair bills – ref: 133 Nevada Supreme Court Advanced Opinion 37 issued June 22, 2017, Pizarro-Ortega  vs. Cervantes-Lopez).  If the case involves punitive damages, the attorneys should also discuss engaging in early discovery on the punitive claim.

Rule 45 should be discussed. Rule 45 must be used to subpoena witnesses who are not part of the litigation and to obtain documents. If a deposition of prisoner must be taken, a motion is required.  A court order for a prisoner’s deposition must be obtained, even if all parties agree.

Have meaningful 2.34 conferences on every discovery dispute before it is brought to the court’s attention.  Attorneys are required to have a discussion on disputed issues in person or on the phone. Attorneys cannot rely on staff to have the 2.34 conference.

The timing of expert disclosures should be discussed. Each attorney should have an idea as to whether an initial expert, a rebuttal expert or both will be necessary. There is a simple test for determining whether an expert should be disclosed as an initial expert: If you need to call an expert witness in your case in chief to support your case – this is an initial expert witness and must disclosed as one.

If you’re moving to extend your discovery deadlines that will result in a trial date change, the stipulation must go to the judge. If you are submitting a motion to move the trial date, that motion has to go to the judge. If a motion or stipulation to extend discovery doesn’t impact the trial date, the Discovery Commissioner will hear the motion or review the stipulation.

Provide courtesy copies of motions and exhibits to Discovery. Original signatures are required on both the Report and Recommendations and stipulations. Only originals of Report and Recommendations and stipulations should be submitted to Discovery, copies are unnecessary.

Don’t wait six months to bring a discovery dispute to the attention of the Discovery Commissioner. Timely present your disputes. Make efforts to reduce your disputes to a manageable number by having a meaningful 2.34 conference before filing a motion.

The revamped Medical Dental Malpractice Status Check Calendar, more commonly known as Med-Mal Sweeps, held on Aug. 7 went swiftly and smoothly with 155 cases calendared.  The only cases called were the new cases which were never previously set for trial, and cases reassigned from the four newly designated homicide departments.  We set for trial all of the new med-mal cases for which complaints were filed on or before June 5 and had a JCCR filed. In total, 58 trial dates were either re-set or set for the first time.

“It’s nice that we were able to further streamline the med-mal process using new guidelines set out by Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez,” said Judge Jerry Wiese, who presided over the sweeps. “We are providing attorneys with the assistance they need by helping them to avoid having too many trials set on top of each other. At the same time, we are providing the District Court judges the ability to manage their own calendars.”

The court is enforcing NRS 41.A.061.1 and attempting to set all Chapter 41A Professional Negligence trials (not already scheduled) within three years of the date that the Complaint was filed.

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