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/.
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
September 16, 2016 Jury Services employees reveal the top 10 misconceptions about jury service and the important truth
Earlier this week, we had a jury appreciation event. Jury service is an important and essential part of the justice system but there are a lot of misconception about it. Our District Court Jury Services employees revealed the top 10 misconceptions about jury service.
- Jury service is boring. – Serving on a jury can be a very interesting, informative and rewarding life experience. It gives those who serve on a jury a front row seat to our justice system and valuable insight on how it works.
- Jury duty lasts for weeks or months at a time. – In reality, jury duty for the majority of people lasts only one day if required to appear. On average, only 50 percent of people end up being required to report when summoned; seven percent end up being sent to the courtroom; and only one percent actually serve on a jury. The average jury trials in the Eighth Judicial District Court last three to five days (there are exceptions).
- Employers won’t allow attendance, will fire or take action against employees, or will require them to work while on jury duty. – Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 6.190, employers must allow employees to attend jury and it is unlawful to take any action against a person for performing his or her civic duty. In addition, employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use sick leave or vacation time to serve jury duty, and may not require the person to work within eight hours before serving, or to work if jury service (including time going to and from court) will take four or more hours.
- A warrant for arrest will automatically be issued or a person will automatically be fined if jury duty is missed. – There is due process for failure to appear for jury duty. The first step is to automatically summon the person to appear again within sixty days. Failing to appear a second time makes a person subject to additional consequences. The one exception would be if someone has already appeared and been assigned to a case panel or jury and then fails to show up during the trial. In that instance, the judge could use sanctions. The court does not contact people by phone to solicit money for failure to serve on jury duty.
- Stating that you can’t be fair for whatever reason will warrant immediate excusal. – Each juror must face a judge and state any prejudices or biases under oath in open court.
- Being a convicted felon automatically excludes one from serving and will get a person out of jury duty. – If an individual has been convicted of a felony and has had his or her civil rights restored, he or she is eligible to serve on a jury. There are certain classes of felony where civil rights are automatically restored.
- Professional people do not have to serve on jury duty. – Doctors, lawyers, teachers, military, executives, government workers, court staff, and people from all professions are eligible for jury duty. If a person is a qualified elector in the state (i.e., eligible to vote whether or not the right is exercised), he or she is eligible to serve. There are certain exemptions under the law for matters of safety and security and for legislators in session.
- If selected as a juror I will be sequestered. – While the court has this option, it is rarely exercised. Jurors are kept separate from the public as much as reasonably possible while serving. As a general rule, jurors are allowed to go home after court.
- I am being targeted for jury duty every 18 months or as a result of past tickets or law violations. – The jury management system summons people from all demographic areas and zip codes in the community on a random basis. That is why some people may end up being summoned again as soon as 18 months later and others don’t serve for years or may never be called. If someone has changed his or her last name, it is possible he or she could be summoned again. If this occurs, individuals should contact jury services. It is possible to receive a summons from the District Court and also to be summoned by Federal Court.
- I can’t serve if I am over a certain age. – The court does not exclude anyone of legal age from serving jury duty. Individuals who are 70 years and older (or 65 years old and having to travel more than 65 miles), have the option of choosing to be exempt from serving jury duty.
September 16, 2016 September Adult Guardianship Bench/Bar Meeting cancelled – next meeting to be held in October
The Adult Guardianship Bench/Bar Meeting that was scheduled for Sept. 26 has been cancelled. Mark your calendar for the next meeting on Oct.24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Public Guardian’s Office, 515 Shadow Lane. If you have an agenda item for the Oct. meeting please e-mail RootA@clarkcountycourts.usno later than Oct. 14. Attendance to the Bench/Bar Meeting is free plus you getting two free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. Bench Bar meetings are a great way to stay up on the latest developments and improve the efficacy of those who practice in the area of guardianship.
September 15, 2016 Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez Selected To Assume District Court Chief Judge Post January 1
Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez was selected to be the new chief judge of the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court. She will succeed Chief Judge David Barker. Judges on the District Court bench voted to choose the new chief who will officially start the role on Jan. 1 next year. The chief judge is responsible for managing the administration of the court while maintaining an active (reduced) caseload hearing and deciding cases.
“I am honored to be selected to fill the role of chief judge of the Eighth Judicial District Court and to carry on the precedence of excellence established by colleagues such as Chief Judge Barker,“ said Judge Gonzalez. “I look forward to beginning this new challenge of keeping the court on course to achieve the vision of timely and fair adjudication, optimum technological advancement, continuous improvement and maximum efficiency.”
Judge Gonzalez who was the 2015 Liberty Bell Award honoree, is currently the presiding judge of the Civil Division, handling business and criminal cases and serving on the executive committee of the court. She was appointed to the District Court in July 2004. Prior to taking the bench, she practiced predominantly in complex civil litigation that included business, mass tort, and construction defect litigation. From 1986 to 1998, she was employed with the law firm of Beckley, Singleton, Jemison & List where she focused on these areas of litigation and served as the firm’s president from 1997 to 1998. From 1998 until taking the bench, she operated her own firm.
Judge Gonzalez is a past president of the American College of Business Court Judges and has served as a Business Court Representative to the ABA Business Law Section. Currently she serves on the Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission and serves on both the Education Committee and Judicial Education Requirements Study Committee of the Judicial Council of the State of Nevada. She previously served on the Judicial Council of the State of Nevada, the Supreme Court Jury Improvement Commission, and the State of Nevada Ethics Commission. Judge Gonzalez attained a B.A. in History, with honors, from the University of Florida in May of 1982 and received her law degree from the University of Florida College of Law in 1985. She was admitted to the State Bar of Nevada in 1985.
“Judge Gonzalez has demonstrated repeatedly that she is well-suited to fill the role of chief judge of the District Court. She is well-respected and has excelled as the presiding Civil Division judge; and has contributed much as an executive committee member. I am confident that Judge Gonzalez will lead the District Court in a productive direction,” said current Chief Judge Barker.
Under Chief Judge Barker, the District Court received recognition for several programs including the NACM Top 10 Court Technology Solutions Award and NACM Award for Project 48. During his tenure as chief, Judge Barker worked on the Pre-trial Committee to relieve jail overcrowding, worked to start the Guardianship Commission, served on the Nevada State—Federal Judicial Council and the Judicial Council of Southern Nevada.
Tags: Barbara Buckley, Clark County Courts, District Court Chief Judge, Eighth Judicial District Court, Judge David Barker, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, Las Vegas Court, Las Vegas courts, Nevada Court, NV court
September 14, 2016 Opportunity for legal, law enforcement and social service professionals to step up for kids and feel great about it
Professionals looking for something fulfilling in their life are invited to spend a few hours a week motivating struggling students. The Truancy Diversion Project (TDP) aimed at improving student school attendance and success in classes is calling on attorneys, law enforcement and social service professionals to be volunteer judges at area schools. Volunteers are asked to visit their chosen school once a week to meet with and motivate students to achieve success. Those who are interested in volunteering as a Truancy Diversion Judge, can contact DeDe Parker at702-455-1755.
On Sept. 2 TDP held all-day “trauma-informed” kickoff training for volunteer judges at Family Court with approximately 50 participants. The purpose of the TDP is to utilize a specialty court model to assist the Clark County School District (CCSD) to reduce absenteeism, re-engage students in learning and to cut the dropout rate.
Clark County School District reported nearly 244,000 truant children for school-year 2015-2016. Teenage pregnancy, truancy, and high school dropout rates in Nevada are alarming. Individuals lacking a high school diploma face higher prospects of unemployment and the negative consequences associated with it. The TDP is a collaborative effort between the Family Court and CCSD designed to prevent and reduce youth crime, to re-engage our youth in learning, and ultimately, reduce potential costs to our welfare and justice systems.
The Truancy Diversion Program (TDP) is a partnership between Family Court and CCSD. TDP is a non-punitive, incentive-based approach to at-risk school students with truancy problems. A team (judge, family advocate, school personnel) works with the students and their families. Since 2007, the program has been overseen by Eighth Judicial District Family Court Judge Jennifer Elliott in collaboration with the Clark County School District.
“The research on truancy has shown attendance and behavior problems at school are risk factors for drug/alcohol use and for involvement in juvenile justice system,” said Judge Jennifer Elliott. “Truancy Diversion volunteers effectively work directly with the students to address their challenges and motivate them to go to school, graduate and move on to a productive future. The Truancy Diversion Program doesn’t just benefit these students, but it benefits our community as a whole. Higher graduation rates lead to a stronger and more employable community,” said Judge Elliott. “Volunteering to serve as a judge with the TDP is worthwhile work. Our young students gain so much from the guidance provided by the volunteers in this program.”
The volunteer TDP judges are licensed attorneys, mental health professionals, law enforcement personnel, another qualified professionals who commit to a school year of weekly court sessions that promote and support academic achievement using a team effort and an individual student success plan. Since 2007, the TDP has expanded from six to 85 schools including elementary, middle schools and high schools. The goal of the Eighth Judicial District Court, Family Division is to continue to expand until all 357 Clark County schools have a TDP specialty court.
“The Truancy Diversion program helps young people achieve success in education. That success sets the stage for the rest of their lives.” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin. “I urge attorneys in our community to be a part of this program to help young people in our community achieve.”
Tags: Clark Cocunty Family Court, Dropuot reduction, Eighth Judicial District Court, Family Court, Judge Jennifer Elliot, Las Vegas Court, Las Vegas courts, Nevada Court, truancy diversion, truancy reduction
September 13, 2016 What attorneys need to know about Discovery changes to the procedures for the Report and Recommendations
Discovery Commissioner Bulla has made changes to the discovery procedures for the Report and Recommendations. The parties only have to submit the original Report and Recommendations. Copies are no longer required.
Pursuant to N.E.F.C.R. 9, after Commissioner Bulla signs the Report and Recommendations , the parties will be served with notice pursuant to EDCR 2.34(f) via e-service through Wiznet . The new Report and Recommendation form with the new notice page is now available at the Clark County Website – http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/ejdc/courts-and-judges/discovery/discovery.html
The time to object to the Report and Recommendations will continue to be eight (8) judicial days from the date of e-service and the parties are still required to timely provide Commissioner Bulla’s office with a file stamped courtesy copy of any Objection. If a file stamped copy of the Objection is not available before the objection time expires, a copy of the details of filing from Wiznet will be accepted.
Run slips submitted with the original Report and Recommendations to the Discovery Commissioner, will remain attached to the document when forwarded to the District Court Judge. Once the Report and Recommendations is signed by the District Court Judge, it will be available for pick up by your runner service from the Department.
Those who responded to the call for jury duty were greeted and thanked for their response by Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Douglas, Chief Judge David Barker and Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. Those in attendance were offered fresh coffee and cookies compliments of the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court judges. They also got a sneak-peek at two new jury service videos that are being release today. We’ve heard every jury excuse in the book/top three most creative jury excuses (with Justice Mark Gibbons and Judge David Barker) and add jury service to your bucket list videos can be view on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCinfEGC2Ix41UfnsT3P1b1A\
Jury services is widely recognized as essential pillar of our justice system and those who serve their civic duty are highly regarded and appreciated by the court. District Court has upgraded and streamlined Jury Services to improve efficiency and save time for all involved in the jury selection process, most notably attorneys and reporting jurors. A series of upgrades initiated by past Chief Judge Jennifer Togliatti began several years ago and is ongoing. Some of the most recent improvements include the ability for summoned jurors to access jury qualification questionnaires in a variety of ways: kiosks, improved wi-fi for personal electronic devices, and court-provided tablets. The Jury Services webpage (http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/ejdc/juror-information/index.html#Frequently Asked Questions) has been upgraded to help jurors navigate through the reporting process by, among other things, offering jury qualification questionnaires online to improve pre-qualification rates. Potential jurors can complete their qualification questionnaires and upload/attach documentation right onto their record. Potential jurors can also update their addresses and find information on what to expect, FAQs, directions to courthouse/parking, and the orientation video. Potential jurors/jurors are also able to select their preferred method of contact including: email, text, phone, or mail. Reminder calls can be made to jurors 10 days in advance and the night prior to reporting.
Other upgrades include two touch–screen kiosks for expedited check-in. Kiosks offer the capability to complete qualification questionnaires in the Jury Services room and the ability to print attendance letters and checks. Court plans include the addition of 10 kiosks with bar code scanning capability. Jurors are no longer paid with a voucher system. Instead, checks are now issued immediately upon completion of service and are available through various ways; checks can be picked-up by the jurors upon notification by departments, or the departments can collect the checks and hand them out in the courtroom. Jurors can also request a link to an exit survey to be e-mailed to them for online completion through the eJuror web-page. The surveys are intended to gather better feedback and input on opportunities for improvement.
September 13, 2016 Tuesday Civil Bench Bar Meeting will offer insight on the latest court developments
The next Civil Bench Bar Meeting of the Eighth Judicial District Court will offer insight on the latest court developments including changes to some discovery procedures. The meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 12:05 p.m. in courtroom 15D at the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. The Civil Bench Bar is designed to bring the judiciary and members of the bar together to discuss ways to improve the processing and handling of civil matters. All members of the bar are welcome. Lunch will be provided.
At the August Civil Bench Bar meeting, Discovery Commissioner Bonnie Bulla emphasized that discovery related to the “sale of medical liens” to a third party will not be permitted. As the Nevada Supreme Court explained in Khoury, the amount a lien is sold for is “irrelevant to a jury’s determination of the reasonable value of medical services provided.” However, evidence of the existence of a medical lien will be permitted as it may be evidence of bias. However, footnote 6 to the opinion, which limits the use of such evidence, should be reviewed.
Attendees also got an overview of the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court Guide and File system that made the list of the top-10 court technology solutions as named by the National Association for Court Management (NACM).