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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Monthly Archives: May 2016

 

Blue Diamond awards were presented to Truancy Diversion Program volunteer judges at a recognition event for those who are helping to keep Clark County students in school and on track to graduate. The volunteers work with the students weekly to help them transition from diamonds in the rough to brilliant young graduates.

Clark County reported over 240,000 truant children for school-year 2014-2015. Those without a high school diploma face higher prospects of unemployment and the associated negative consequences. This collaborative effort between the Clark County School District has been structured to prevent and reduce youth crime, re-engage students in learning, and ultimately, reduce potential costs to our welfare and justice systems. It 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.

The TDP was established by Judge Gerald Hardcastle in 2002. Since 2007, the program has been overseen by District Court Judge Jennifer Elliott in collaboration with the CCSD.  Judges, attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers volunteer approximately three hours each week to and hold truancy court sessions at schools, where they meet individually with students and their parents. They review the students’ attendance, school work, and progress to ensure that students have the resources they need to be successful. The TDP judges promote and support academic achievement using a team effort and an individual student success plan. Since 2007, the TDP has expanded from six to 80 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 Clark County schools have a TDP program.

If you are a licensed attorney, mental health professional or law enforcement officer and are interested in volunteering as a TDP judge for this Specialty Court program please contact DeDe Parker at: 702-321-2410.The Family Court youth programs are a great example of how the Eighth Judicial District Court is using alternative, efficient methods to address crime and ensure justice. District Court continuously works to develop innovative ideas, improve efficiencies, address issues and improve access to justice.

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Truancy Diversion Program (TDP) volunteers who commit to a school-year of weekly truancy diversion court sessions on a Clark County School District (CCSD) campus will be recognized on Friday, May 27 at 5:30 p.m. to be held at the Sam’s Town Hotel and Gambling Hall in the Ponderosa Ballroom at 5111 Boulder Hwy. Each of the volunteers will be given an award and the opportunity to share their experience with clearing the way for students to walk on graduation day.

The TDP was established by Judge Gerald Hardcastle in 2002. Since 2007, the program has been overseen by District Court Judge Jennifer Elliott in collaboration with the CCSD. “The volunteer Truancy Diversion Judges are playing an important role in addressing the significant issue of truancy in Clark County. They listen to the kids, hear their issues, encourage and motivate them. They clear a path for the students to graduate and have the opportunity for college or a career,” said Judge Elliott. “The attorneys and other professionals who volunteer as judges find it very rewarding to help these students get on track to graduate. I invite attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers to be part of the solution to the significant problem of truancy in our schools.”

Clark County reported over 240,000 truant children for school-year 2014-2015.Those without a high school diploma face higher prospects of unemployment and the associated negative consequences. This collaborative effort between the CCSD has been structured to prevent and reduce youth crime, re-engage students in learning, and ultimately, reduce potential costs to our welfare and justice systems. It 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.

Judges, attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers volunteer approximately three hours each week to and hold truancy court sessions at schools, where they meet individually with students and their parents. They review the students’ attendance, school work, and progress to ensure that students have the resources they need to be successful. The TDP judges promote and support academic achievement using a team effort and an individual student success plan. Since 2007, the TDP has expanded from six to 80 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 Clark County schools have a TDP program.

“The Truancy Diversion volunteers, along with Judge Elliott and her team, have accomplished much to fill some of the gaps to get students struggling with attendance on track and in school,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin. “Their efforts are making a difference in the lives of young people and improving their chances for success.”

If you are a licensed attorney, mental health professional or law enforcement officer and are interested in volunteering as a TDP judge for this Specialty Court program please contact DeDe Parker at: 702-321-2410.The Family Court youth programs are a great example of how the Eighth Judicial District Court is using alternative, efficient methods to address crime and ensure justice. District Court continuously works to develop innovative ideas, improve efficiencies, address issues and improve access to justice.

 

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Seven felony DUI court participants crossed the finish line to graduate from the rigorous program. The graduates discussed what helped them during their three-year (plus) journey and their after-care plan to ensure they continue their quest for life-long recovery. Family members came to show support and celebrate with cupcakes, certificates and photos. Two of the graduates who initially resisted the program, spoke about how they now realize it saved their lives. It was a sentiment share by all those who successfully completed the program and graduate.

“These graduations are very important,” said Judge Adriana Escobar, who presides over the felony DUI court. “Successful completion of this program is positive for the graduates, our community public safety and for the justice system. A tremendous amount of resources and money are saved by not having these participants revolving through the prison system.”

The felony DUI court is one of several specialty courts including: veterans’ court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court and dependency mothers’ drug court that have been proven to be a successful way to get people off substance abuse and on track to productive lives.

Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports: “nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent more than other sentencing options.”

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Seventeen everyday people became exceptionally special to abused and neglected children on May 16, when they took an oath to serve as  Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). They swore to be an effective voice for children in foster care and to give them a say on what happens with their life. The volunteers successfully completed training so they would have the skills needed to speak up for foster kids. The CASA volunteers serve a very important role to provide information to judges in court on abuse and neglect cases.

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.

For those interested in volunteering 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 www.casalasvegas.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/CASALasVegas.

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Judge Dianne Steel at Guardianship Bench Bar meeting

Judge Dianne Steel at Guardianship Bench Bar meeting

If you’re an attorney who handles guardianship cases, set your reminder for the Monday, May 16 Guardianship Bench Bar at the Public Guardian’s office at 515 Shadow Lane. It’s a brown-bag, open forum from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to learn important information and ask questions. Judge Dianne Steel presides over the meeting that will cover hot topics for guardianship cases.

Bench Bar Agenda 5-16-16-05132016113659

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Children who have experienced traumatizing family situations and placed into foster care will gain a new voice when 17 new Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers will be sworn in at a ceremony at the Eighth Judicial District Family Court on Monday, May 16 at noon, at Family Court, Courtroom 9, 601 N. Pecos Road. The volunteers successfully completed specialized training to give them the tools they need to serve as an effective voice for children and to give them a say on what happens with their life.

There are currently 357 CASA volunteers serving as a voice for foster children in our community. Many more volunteers are needed to advocate for the nearly 3,500 children receiving services under supervision of Family Court. Last year, more than 900 children had a CASA volunteer to help them navigate through the system, and deal with school challenges and home life. The goal is to get a volunteer to be a voice for every foster child.

“CASA volunteers play a very important role to help ensure that children don’t get lost in the system,” said Family Court Judge Frank Sullivan, who will administer the oath to the CASA volunteers. “When Children have a CASA, they have a voice. When they have a voice, they have hope. When they have hope, they have a future. These kids deserve everything we want for our own kids. So, I urge those who are able, to step forward and volunteer to be a voice for children. The relationship you establish with a child will last a lifetime.”

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.

“The court has committed substantial resources to improve the outcomes for abuse and neglect cases, and to give the children what they need to be able to be in a safe and permanent home. We have moved to a one-judge one-family policy to give judges more time with cases and help them to get to know the kids and their needs.” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin. “CASA volunteers play a crucial role in achieving the best possible outcomes by conveying the children’s point of view.”

For those interested in volunteering 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 www.casalasvegas.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/#!/CASALasVegas.

 

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A lot of interest surrounds criminal cases in Las Vegas. A screening was held last week for a new television show Las Vegas Law that taps into that interest. The premier show is scheduled to run this Thursday, May 12 at 10 p.m. on Investigation Discovery (Cable Channel 104 or HD 1104). My Entertainment production company spent several months at the Regional Justice Center covering Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court cases. The show is currently slated for six episodes. Show producers worked with the District Attorney’s Office to get a unique perspective on high-profile criminal cases in Las Vegas.

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