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Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Monthly Archives: March 2016


The Eighth Judicial District Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA) has been awarded certification by the National CASA Association, and passed the national organization’s high standards for quality child advocacy with flying colors.

The CASA program recruits, screens, trains and supports volunteers to represent the best interests of hundreds of foster children annually. The advocates represent the children in school, family team meetings, and in court. Volunteering for the program involves a two-year commitment and a willingness to spend quality time with the children to advocate for them. In 1980, Judge John Mendoza led the creation of the Clark County CASA Program. The CASA mission continues to be fully supported by Family Court judges.

“Receiving national certification with such high marks for our CASA program is an affirmation of the commitment of our volunteers and staff,” said Family Court Judge Frank Sullivan, who oversees the CASA program. “Hundreds of children receiving services under the supervision of Family Court benefit from the objective adult voice that CASA volunteers bring. We currently have around 3,500 children who are in foster care under the supervision of Family Court and 353 CASA volunteers. Our goal is to have a CASA for every child in foster care.”

For those who want to volunteer with CASA, monthly orientations are held on the third Wednesday of each month to provide more information about the program. Upcoming orientations will be held at the Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy. For more information about the program please call 702-455-4306, visit or Facebook at!/CASALasVegas.

“CASA volunteers help traumatized children convey important information in court, at school and in meetings that impact their circumstances,” said Family Division Presiding Judge Charles Hoskin. “Without CASA volunteers, children are often left without a voice in court. I am extremely pleased that our CASA program has been nationally certified with such high marks as they work to voice the concerns of young people who face tremendous challenges.”

According to Tara Perry, Interim CEO/Chief Operating Officer of the National CASA Association, “The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child served has a powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf and a strong program supporting their work. This certification says the Eighth Judicial District CASA program has demonstrated

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Nothin’ but the Grover Clevelands!

Miranda is 50 and high school sophomores, juniors and seniors can enter to win $2,000 with a video or essay for the 2016 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest.

We all know the opening lines: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” But what do they mean? The Ninth Circuit Courts and Community Committee and the federal courts of the western United States are looking for the answer from high school sophomores, juniors and seniors in the form of an essay or video. The top three entries can win cash prizes; with first place taking home $2,000; second place $1,000 and third $500.Complete contest details can be found at The deadline is fast approaching: April 15 at 5 p.m.

Below is a summary of information from the site:

The theme of the contest is the United States Supreme Court’s landmark 1966 decision in Miranda v. Arizona. The court ruled that someone taken into police custody must be informed – prior to questioning – of their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The decision became the basis for what is now referred to as a “Miranda Warning” or a recitation of “Miranda Rights.”

The contest has two components: 1) Individual students can express their thoughts and ideas in an essay of 500 to 750 words, and 2) Individual students or teams of up to three students may submit a 2-3 minute video presentation on the theme. Students may participate in one or both competitions.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada is hosting a local contest with winners moving on to the Ninth Circuit competition.  Project REAL, a non-profit group focused on teaching young people about the law, will be assisting the court in this civics education effort.  The contest is open to high school students throughout the State of Nevada. For more information about the district contest, student can contact Paige Brown (775) 686-5605 Come on Nevada students, make our state proud.


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The U.S. Sentencing Commission just released a new report that has some interesting information about recidivism among federal offenders. Those who do not finish high school are considered at higher risk to re-offend. This is a link to the study

The District Court Truancy Diversion Program is working to keep kids in school and on track to graduate

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Courtesy copies were a hot topic at the March Civil Bench Bar meeting; here’s why it’s good to provide the judge hearing your case with courtesy- copies:

Reason 5: Judicial departments handle many cases, they have limited paper budgets, court staff has limited time to prepare for multiple cases and if courtesy copies are not provided the law clerks would spend all their time making copies.

Reason 4: Courtesy copies should be tabbed and bates-stamped so that exhibits are easy to find quickly, especially in court.

Reason 3: Friends don’t let friends forget to send courtesy copies (courtesy of Alexandra McLeod).

Reason 2: Odyssey files are not tabbed and have to be viewed page-by-page which is cumbersome, time-consuming and makes those forced to do it grumpy.

Reason 1: The top reason to provide courtesy-copies is: many judges will send out a notice vacating your case if you don’t.

Speaking of courtesy copies: it is also important to courtesy-copy Discovery on case conference reports. If you don’t, it will likely delay the scheduling order. If you do copy Discovery and you don’t get a scheduling order, call Discovery to find out what is going on.

In addition to a review of the Nevada Supreme Court decisions, during the March Bench Bar meeting, Assistant District Court administrator Mike Doan gave an update on some highly anticipated upgrades to Odyssey. Portal and File & Serve are being upgraded, but the court is being careful to ensure that no features are lost in the transition. Right now the upgrades are doing well in testing, but there are a few things that have to be worked out before it can go live. Video conferencing upgrades are going well. The funding is approved to go court-wide. This solution will be in every court and will provide judges with the option to have litigants testify by phone or video conference and it will appear on the record. The new videoconferencing system is being tested in Judge Gonzalez’s courtroom.

Those who are looking to schedule short trials should be aware that a number of courtrooms will be available at the RJC the week of Apr. 26-29 during the judicial summit. During the last judicial summit in 2012, 117 short trials were heard, 104 cases settled. It was great use of courtroom space that week.

Next Civil Bench Bar meeting is Apr. 12 at noon.

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Judge Dianne Steel at Guardianship Bench Bar meeting

Judge Dianne Steel at Guardianship Bench Bar meeting

A Guardianship Bench Bar will take place on Monday, March 14 at 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. The Meeting will take place at Zenoff Hall Training Room at 601 Pecos Road. The two-hour meeting is good for two free CLE credits. Proposed rules will be discussed as well as other important information.


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Judge Dianne Steel opened the Guardianship Bench Bar meeting on an upbeat note, telling attorneys in attendance that things are really moving fast. She commended those working to address guardianship issues saying they were, “focused, dedicated, thinking outside the box, and creative.”
Judge Steel also offered updates including:

  • A significant step has been made by the court to issue orders right from the bench. The ability to issue orders before individuals leave the hearing will save time, money and avoid missed dates and frustration.
  • The court plans to give out anniversary dates for the first granting of guardianship of any nature. This is to improve consistency and facilitate tracking. This is particularly important to ensure that the 60-day, report of guardian and annual accounting deadlines are met.
  • Mandatory status checks will continue on every Friday. Judge O’Malley will continue to assist in case review to look at every case that has slipped out of compliance.
  • In April, the court will review old cases again to ensure that nothing has slipped through the crack

The Guardianship Compliance Officer Riley Wilson provided an update on new software that will simplify guardianship accounting. District Court is adapting open-source guardianship accounting software developed by a Minnesota court. It’s being compared to Turbo Tax for ease of use. It is believed that the new software will streamline guardianship accounting processes and reports, and offer the ability to upload backup docs to the system. Once the software is sufficiently adapted for the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court, beta testing will begin.

Each Guardianship Committee provided an update, and Deputy DA Jay Raman with the major fraud unit gave a brief presentation and addressed questions.

 Tips for guardianship court: Information on how to get it right in guardianship court.

  • Attorneys can’t stipulate a trial away. Counsel should do whatever needs to be done before the trial date. If a trial can’t go forward, a motion should be filed to continue
  • In pre-trial memorandums, just put the facts (just the facts). Pre-trial memorandums are not intended to be opening statements and should not have trial exhibits attached.
  • To get a hearing – file a petition with a Citation or a notice of hearing. Don’t forget to file your certificate of service.
  • What happens when no one shows? A Minute Order is issued and the case is closed for failure to prosecute.
  • Filings should have the subject first and the title should reflect the substance of the filing (i.e. Petition for Termination).

Judge Steel said that the court continues to evaluate what the caseload needs are and reminded everyone that the Self-Help Center has forms needed for guardianship filings. Attorneys who complete the two-hour adult guardianship bench bar receive two free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. Upcoming Guardianship Bench-Bar meetings will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 14 at the Zenoff Hall training room and April 18 (location TBD).

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