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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Monthly Archives: June 2017

A big class of new graduates from the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy went through a lot to become P.O.S.T. certified to serve as category I and III peace officers. They were tased, tackled, tested, pepper-sprayed, boxed, banged-up, chased, raced and roughed-up to ensure had the right stuff to serve in law enforcement. Friends and family packed into a theater at the Orleans to see the class of 2017-01, including three District Court marshals, graduate from the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy. Juan Almaraz, Gregory Stamey and Michael Kyle are the trio that graduated under the uniform of the the District Court marshals.

District Court is looking to recruit others who are interested in serving as a court marshal.  Military veterans are encouraged to consider joining the marshal force. The court is working with the Las Vegas Urban League, Nevada Partners, the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation and the College of Southern Nevada to sponsor military veterans for the Criminal Justice Academy P.O.S.T. certification. Those interested in applying should complete a bailiff/deputy marshal application from the county website employment section http://www.clarkcountynv.gov/depts/human_resources/Pages/EmploymentOpportunities.aspx.

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Children from three families will now have the most important person in the world back in their lives, after two mothers and one father recently graduated from the Eighth Judicial District mothers’/fathers’ specialty court. All three completed a rigorous in-patient treatment program, that involved spending between six and 12 months in the WestCare treatment facility learning a new way of life.

The graduation was attended by Judge Jennifer Elliot who presides over the Dependency Mothers’ Drug Court, the treatment providers, specialty court staff and fellow specialty court participants. The fellow drug court participants got to see how successful recovery looks. They got to witness someone in a situation much like their own, turn their life around, have their children in their lives in a meaningful way, and leave drugs and crime behind.

When judges enter a courtroom, all rise as a sign of respect. Judge Elliot and the courtroom gallery all rise when participants graduate from the mothers’/fathers’ specialty court. The children of the graduates now have the person who loves them, the way only a parent can, back in their lives making them dinner, helping with homework, giving them love, and being part of their dreams. Their families and our community are better for it.

Since 1992, the Eighth Judicial District Court has been responding to the emerging social issues of addiction and mental health by establishing specialty courts. Each day, the court handles cases on the many crimes committed by people addicted to illegal drugs or suffering from mental illness. The Dependency Mothers’ Drug Court  is a partnership between Nevada’s Division of Child and Family Services, Clark County Department of Family Services, Clark County Specialty Courts and WestCare of Southern Nevada. Components that make the program work are early intervention services, coordinated clinical assessment, coordinated case management, program referral, residential treatment services including reunification services, parenting skills education, outpatient support services, staff training support and client transportation.

 

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Those who are sentenced to drug court are those who have been through a revolving door of drug abuse and resulting criminal activity. Many were formerly successful professionals who made a wrong turn somewhere. That is the case with one of the drug court’s current participants; but, what a difference a specialty court can make. A once very successful businessman who had it all, lost everything to his addiction to methamphetamine. He lost his income, his family, and his freedom. He became a familiar face in the criminal justice system. He was eventually sentenced by a District Court judge to drug court and that’s when things began to change. Enter Judge Carolyn Ellsworth, who presides over the drug court. She holds drug court participants accountable, yet manages to offer encouragement at the same time.

Those who are in the endless cycle of addiction and crime emerge to get on a path to recovery through rigorous treatment. The treatment is administered by the specialty court mental health/social service treatment professionals, and overseen by Judge Ellsworth in coordination with prosecutors, defense attorneys, and Parole and Probation.

In the case of the once prominent businessman, that is just what happened. He began to rebuild his life.  He became drug-free, got a job and worked to stabilize his life. He became involved in a healthy relationship. Then in early June, Judge Ellsworth married him to his new love. She baked one of her very special homemade cakes that she is known to bake for every drug court graduate. Family and friends came to support the man they love; the one they thought they had lost to addiction.

Not every story goes so well; and the new groom faces an ongoing struggle with recovery. But his outlook is bright, and the drug court team is there to help get him across the finish line. The rest is up to him.

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Huge sparkling diamonds and words of praise were given to Truancy Diversion Program (TDP) volunteers who visit schools and motivate kids to get in the classroom, on track to graduate and on the path to success in life.  The diamonds weren’t real, they were awards, but they conveyed the immense appreciation for the volunteers; many of whom got up and expressed tremendous pride for the program that is changing young lives for the better.

The volunteers, who are judges, attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers, spend approximately three hours each week to hold truancy court at schools, where they meet individually with students and their parents. They get to the heart of why the students are struggling and clear a path to help them get to school and make the grade. The volunteers know they are making a difference through motivation; they know they are getting through to the kids on the importance of their education.

Volunteers 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 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 Clark County School District. 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.

Licensed attorneys, mental health professionals or law enforcement officers interested in volunteering as a TDP judge can call 702-455-1755.

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The lazy, hazy days of summer are getting underway. Civil attorneys can avoid the summer slump and sharpen skills. Attend the Civil Bench-Bar meeting this Tuesday, June 13 at noon in courtroom 3A. Bench-Bar attendees get the latest information on new rules, Nevada Supreme Court rulings and what legislative changes are in the works to help keep your courtroom game tight. The meetings are a great way to beat the heat in a cool courtroom, learn and network over lunch. Judge Joanna Kishner will offer up information and open discussion on Supreme Court Rule 3.

A review of May Nevada Supreme Court decisions will be discussed including:

  1. In re Parental Rights as to M.M.L., 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 21 (May 11, 2017)
  2. In re Discipline of Timothy Treffinger, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 22 (May 11, 2017)
  3. Klabacka v. Nelson, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 24 (May 25, 2017)
  4. Iliescu v. Steppan, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 25 (May 25, 2017)
  5. In re Davis Family Heritage Trust, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 26 (May 25, 2017)
  6. Sargeant v. Henderson Taxi, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 27 (June 1, 2017)
  7. O’Neal v. Hudson, 133 Nev. Adv. Op. 29 (June 1, 2017)

The Civil Bench-Bar meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month at noon. Lunch is usually provided. The meetings give attorneys the opportunity to get their questions and concerns addressed and to get the latest news that may affect their practice. The May Bench-Bar meeting had record attendance and included a tour of the new Nevada Supreme Court building.

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The Eighth Judicial District Court is a busy and dynamic court. Three new District Court judges have taken the bench and hit the ground running. At a June 2  investiture ceremony, District Court Judge Tierra Jones, District Court Judge Mark Bailus, and District Court Judge David M. Jones pronounced a judicial oath in front of family, friends and fellow jurists to uphold justice in our community. Judge David M. Jones was appointed by the governor a few months ago, and was already knee-deep in cases prior to the investiture. He was waiting for his new colleagues to be named, so they could all do their investitures together. All three have now taken their oath, taken the bench and gotten their feet very wet with full caseloads.

  • Judge Tierra Jones is serving in District Court Dept. 10 in Regional Justice Center courtroom 14B with a civil/criminal docket. She replaces Judge Jessie Walsh who retired.
  • Judge Mark Bailus is serving in District Court Dept. 18 in the Phoenix Bldg. 11th floor courtroom with a civil docket. He replaces Judge David Barker who retired.
  • Judge David Jones is serving in District Court Dept. 29 in Regional Justice Center courtroom 3B with a civil docket. He replaces Judge Susan Scann who passed away.

Investitures are formal ceremonies for family, friends and colleagues. Fellow jurist enter in a procession wearing their robes to convey the significance of the investiture. The ceremonies offer a glimpse into the person who will be making weighty decisions from the bench that will profoundly impact lives.

Judge Tierra Jones leaves a post as a deputy district attorney for Clark County to take the bench. She also served as a district attorney in Nye County and public defender in Clark County. Judge Jones is from  Hawthorne, Nevada. She attended University of Nevada, Reno and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law.

Judge Mark Bailus takes the bench after working in private practice with a focus on complex civil and criminal litigation and appeals at the law firm of Bailus Cook & Kelesis, Ltd.  Judge Bailus’ professional experience also includes a partnership in the law firm of Cherry Bailus & Kelesis, serving as general counsel for Nevada Beverage Company and as an attorney with the Clark County Special Public Defender’s Office.  Further, he was on the Ombudsperson Panel to represent the deceased family and public at the Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review hearings. Judge Bailus is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and received his Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law.

Judge David Jones is a Las Vegas native and Valley High School graduate. He attended Arizona State University. After graduation, Judge Jones taught Government, World and U.S. History at Rancho High School. After several years as a teacher, Judge Jones attended University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, graduating with honors. Judge Jones’ professional experience includes a long-term partnership at Rawlings, Olson, Cannon, et al., and a partnership at the law firm of Lewis Brisbois. He was also the managing attorney for the Plaintiff based firm of David Allen & Associates. His work includes presiding over short-trials, mediation and arbitration, and the Truancy Diversion Program.

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Scamphoto

It’s the scam that keeps scamming and it has resurfaced for another round of rip-offs in Clark County. A local victim received a phone call from a scammer who claimed to be with Clark County. The victim was told that she missed an appearance for grand jury and she needed to go to a nearby pharmacy to get a pre-paid credit card to post a bond. She was told there was a deputy on his way to her house to arrest her if she didn’t have the money for the bond. This isn’t the first time criminals have used false warrants and bogus claims to get unsuspecting victims to pay-up for missed jury duty. The court is getting the word out on these scams and is asking the community to beware and let others know the telltale signs of the scam.

“The court never solicits money on the telephone or threatens to send a deputy to arrest individuals who have missed jury service,” said District Court Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. “Jury service is the cornerstone of the American Justice system. It’s unfortunate that criminals are trying to exploit such an important process to steal from unsuspecting victims. I encourage those who receive these bogus calls to report them to law enforcement,”

Other scams tried in the past, made via telephone, mail or e-mail, have included fake judgments that required money, and an assortment of phony warrant scams. The scammers are hard to catch and prosecute. They mostly ask victims to purchase pre-paid credit cards. Potential victims should independently verify all claims, and thoroughly examine and verify any paperwork or e-mails that asks for money. Many of the victims have been senior citizens. It is optional for those over the age of 70 to serve on a jury. The District Court website offers information on jury service at http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/ejdc/juror-information/index.html. Those who have received a summons can reschedule jury service online at https://ejuror.clarkcountycourts.us. A jury phone line is also available at 702-455-4472 (callers should remain on the line for the operator).

 

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