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Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Monthly Archives: June 2018

On July 1, the new fiscal year begins. The new year brings a new chief judge and presiding judges at District Court.  Judge Linda Marie Bell was elected to replace outgoing Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez.  The chief judge maintains responsibility for managing the administration of the court. Judge Bell will continue to hear specialty court cases during her tenure in the chief judge post. Judge Gonzalez will return to hearing civil, business and mental health court cases.

Judge Michael Villani will take over as the criminal presiding judge from Judge Doug Herndon. Judge Jerry Wiese will take on the post as the presiding civil court judge from Judge Susan Johnson.  Presiding judges manage the business of their respective division.

On her last day as chief, Judge Gonzalez sent out a thank you to court employees. “I wanted to express my gratitude to each of you to your hard work in making our Court more accessible to the community. We have worked as a team to improve our time to disposition and access to all of our community. The work we have done as a group is a testament to each of you. The courtesy and respect shown to those who appear in our court system is something of which I am very proud. Thanks again to all for your contributions to this success,” said Judge Gonzalez. “The court administration team worked tirelessly in support of our strategic goals. Those of you who work behind the scenes in administration and the clerk’s office keep the wheels of the organization moving, without even being seen. Although we do not see you on a daily basis, know that your work is appreciated.”

Judge Gonzalez closed her email with, “It has been my honor to serve as your Chief Judge. I wish Judge Bell and her leadership the best of luck in continuing to make improvements on access to justice and time to disposition.”

During her term as chief, Judge Gonzalez established a jury services committee and put into action a plan to add active voter registration names to the Court’s Jury Master List. Judge Gonzalez implemented improvements to how minor guardianship and involuntary commitments are handled. She spearheaded logical enhancements to business practices to maximize space and proximity to enhance interface at the court with a business pod and a guardianship/probate pod. Management for homicide cases was also centralized under her leadership to improve efficiency in the management and timely disposition of such cases.

“I want to extend sincere appreciation to Judge Gonzalez for her hard work and significant accomplishments as the chief judge,” said Judge Bell. “Not only did she maintain a heavy and complex caseload, she accomplished much for the court during her tenure as chief judge.”

“I also want to thank Judge Herndon and Judge Susan Johnson for their work in the role of presiding judge. Both the Civil and Criminal divisions have made impressive progress under their leadership,” said Judge Bell.

July 1 will also usher in docket changes, and courtroom/chamber moves. A summary of those changes can be found in this related story: Change is coming to District Court

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In a letter addressed to Governor Brian Sandoval, Judge Jennifer Elliott announced her retirement, effective June 30, from the District Court Family Division Department L.

Her letter cited proud accomplishments including: her work with the dependency mother’s drug court, adult drug court, veterans court, the Truancy Diversion Program, the Cooperative Parent After Divorce Program and the UNLV Family Court Property and Debt Mediation Program.

“I have enjoyed the privilege of serving as a District Court Judge in the Family Division, Department L Clark County, Nevada since January 2003,” said Judge Elliott. “I also had the privilege of working with many distinguished judges and professionals and serving on many committees over the years. I am grateful for having been given the opportunity to serve the children and families of Clark County, State of Nevada.”

The Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection, a judicial body created pursuant to the Nevada State Constitution and governed by the Nevada Revised Statutes, will facilitate the process to fill the judicial vacancy. The commission is charged with filling judicial vacancies that occur before expiration of a term of office. The commission reviews applications from attorneys, interviews and then nominates three potential candidates for a final selection by the governor.

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New proposed statewide rules for guardianship were a hot topic at the recent Joint Guardianship/Probate/Trust/Elder Law Bench Bar Meeting. James Berchtold and John Michaelson, who both served on the Nevada Guardianship Commission sub-committee tasked with developing new guardianship forms, provided an overview. The sub-committee that worked on the forms kept pro se litigants in mind as they developed and vetted the forms. It is not clear yet if the forms will be mandatory. The new proposed rules are referred to the Nevada Rules of Guardianship Procedure NRG. The EJDC guardianship rules that the court had been operating under have been suspended.

There are 81 proposed forms for guardianship, totaling 360 pages. The comment period for the proposed rules and forms closes July 5. See the First Interim Report Attached Proposed Guardianship Rules and Forms Filed First Interim Report of the Guardianship this link:  18-20489

Comments must be made in writing to the Nevada Supreme Court by July 5, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. to the Nevada Supreme Court Clerk’s Office, 201 South Carson Street, Carson City, Nevada 8970.

A public hearing will be held July 18 at 1:30 p.m. in the Nevada Supreme Court courtroom at 201 S. Carson Street in Carson city, NV and video-conferenced to the courtroom at 408 E. Clark Ave in Las Vegas. (Filed Order Scheduling Public Hearing and requesting Public Comment: 18-20646).

Another topic of interest at the joint bench-bar meeting: The Electronic Notary Act is going into effect July 1. Assembly Bill 413 out of the legislative committee on the judiciary has the details:

As of July 1, remote notarization will be allowed  in Nevada, one of first three states to adopt the new law governing electronic notarization of documents. Special training and licensure requirements are necessary to perform electronic notarization, including the requirement that the  Notary archive  the electronic record of the notarization process. The Secretary of State’s Office has  prepared for the new process, and  plans are in the works to have a representative attend a future joint bench-bar meeting to provide an overview of the statutory changes and related  regulations, and address questions.

The question of presumptively confidential documents was discussed at the bench-bar. A reminder was given to be cautious about including personal information such as Social Security numbers that can be viewed publicly. Attorneys were directed to ADKT 410 section 6 on redaction and  Supreme Court Rules  Part VII  Rules Governing Sealing and Redacting Court Records.

Judge Gonzalez asked those in attendance at the bench-bar meeting for comments on processes to improve probate and adult guardianship. A court committee has been established to examine ways to improve those processes. The incoming Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell will chair the committee. Comments can be directed to her office.

The joint bench-bar meetings are a great way to stay current on what’s happening in the areas of guardianship/probate/trust/elder law.

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When you walk into a specialty court graduation ceremony you know you’re entering something really special. There is excitement and optimism in the air. Families and friends are present with balloons, flowers and cake to support their loved ones. The monthly District Court graduations in the jury services room mark a point of change. Hearing Master Melissa De La Garza reminds participants to savor the moment and remember how they feel as they graduate. The grads will need that thought and that feeling to carry them through the tough times and help them to maintain their commitment to be substance-abuse free.

Hearing Master Melissa De La Garza

Deputy Public Defender Christy Craig

Each month, nearly 30 participants graduate from intensive specialty court treatment programs. Eighty-nine participants graduated from the District specialty courts programs in the past three months. Multiply that times all the people in their families and you can get a sense of the kind of impact that the programs are having on the community. That’s 89 families who have a loved one who is contributing instead of disrupting their lives. The community as whole will also benefit from this wave of people committed to a better life. At an estimated jail cost of $135 per-day per-inmate, 89 successful graduates saves $12,015 a night and more than $4.3  million a year in incarceration costs alone. The social benefits are immeasurable. The graduating class includes participants from veterans court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court and felony DUI court.

Kicking addiction and giving up the life that goes with it isn’t easy. “I know you worked really hard to get to this point it is just the beginning though and there is a lot of work to do in the future. It is a great time to celebrate the accomplishments you have achieved so far,” said Judge Linda Bell, who presides over specialty courts. “We really look forward seeing all the things that you do as you move on from specialty courts.”

Judge Linda Marie Bell at specialty court graduation

Specialty courts take a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and mental health/social service/treatment professionals to make the transition possible. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens and it’s worth it. Treating addiction and related disorders has proven to be a much more effective way to address crime surround substance abuse rather than let low-level offenders revolve through the prison system.

“It’s not the end of the road for your sobriety. It’s a lifetime of sobriety,” said Jude Carolyn Ellsworth, who presides over drug court. “Now you have the tools and you know how to handle things when time get rough.”

Judge Carolyn Ellsworth

Jarenie Trachier Quilts of Valor non-profit organization

Deputy Public Defender Christy Craig


Judge Linda Marie Bell at specialty court graduation

Judge Carolyn Ellsworth

Hearing Master Melissa De La Garza

Deputy Public Defender Christy Craig

Jarenie Trachier Quilts of Valor non-profit organization

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Don’t miss the Joint Guardianship/Probate/Trust/Elder Law Bench Bar Meeting Monday, June 25, from noon to 1 p.m., in courtroom 10D at the Regional Justice Center. Attorneys who attend the session will get one Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit. A legislative report will cover proposed guardianship rules and forms.

Those who attend should bring a printout of this packet JointBenchBarPacket6_18

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Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued two administrative orders that outline changes to both the civil and criminal dockets in the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court.

NV Eighth Judicial District Court Administrative Order 10-04 AO 18-04

NV Eighth Judicial District Court Administrative Order 10-05 AO 18-05

The following courtroom/chamber moves will also take place from June 29 through

July 1:

Department 11 (Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez) will move from courtroom 10 to 3E.

Department 19 (Judge William Kephart) will move from  courtroom 3E to 16B.

Department 4 (Judge Kerry Earley) will move from courtroom 16B to 12D.

Department 16 (Judge Timothy C. Williams) will move from courtroom 12 D to 3H.

Department 15 (Judge Joe Hardy) will move from courtroom 3H to 11D.

Department 2 (Judge Richard Scotti) will move from courtroom 11D to 3B.

Department 29 (Judge David M. Jones) will move from  courtroom 3B to 15A.

Department 7 (Judge Linda Marie Bell) will move from courtroom 15A to 10.

Effective July 1, Judge Linda Marie Bell will assume the responsibilities of chief judge for the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court. “I know that moving is disruptive; I appreciate everyone’s patience with the process,” said Judge Bell. “The moves will allow the business court judges to remain on the same floor, which has been very beneficial to the business court litigants and judges. This will also ensure that all judges handling criminal cases have Sally-port access.”  Those who have questions or concerns regarding the moves are encourage to contact Judge Bell’s office.


This is a complete list of courtrooms with the new assignments: CourtroomAssignments6_20_18



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Judge Jennifer Togliatti Tuesday signed the Order of Execution for Scott Dozier. She also issued a Warrant of Execution.

ScottDozierWarrant ofEx

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Scammers have upped their game in yet another round of attempts to rip-off residents of Clark County, using the courts as bait. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department today, notified the court of a new round of rip-offs aimed at unsuspecting individuals who are targeted with a false claim of an arrest warrant for failure to appear on a Grand Jury summons.

According to correspondence from the LVMPD Financial Crimes Bureau, the scammers recently targeted a physician who was threatened with arrest for failure to appear on a Federal Grand Jury summons.

“The public should know that the court never calls on the phone or emails to solicit money or personal information under the threat of arrest for missing jury duty,” said District Court Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. “These scams are very sophisticated and persistent problem. We want to make the public aware of them and ask that those who get this this warning pass it along to friends and family so that they don’t fall victim.”

Different variations of this and other similar scams regularly surface in our community. Senior citizens are a favorite target of the scammers. A very official sounding scam artist usually calls unwitting victims and claims to have a warrant for their arrest for skipping jury duty. They offer up a few details that appear to check out through a cursory Internet search, such as the name of a judge or other official. Then the criminals get the victims to purchase a pre-paid credit card for hundreds of dollars to clear the warrant they claim they have. Within minutes, the scammers cash in on the cards and rip-off the worried victims.  These scams also come in the form of an official looking email.

Don’t fall for these rip-offs and be aware that the court never calls on the phone to solicit money or personal information. Report the crime to law enforcement and spread the word to friends and family.

Top three point to know about these scams

  1. The court never calls or e-mails people to get personal information such as their social security number. Those who receive these e-mails or call should not respond and are advised to contact the Attorney General’s office or the LVMPD Financial Crimes Theft Crimes Bureau.
  2. A key red-flag is the request for money or a pre-paid credit card. No official representatives of the court will call to solicit money for any purpose.
  3. Be wary of phone calls or emails that look like a jury summons and request important personal information including: date of birth, social security number, driver’s license number; and threatens a fine or prison for failing to respond.

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Six Eighth Judicial District Court employees were honored by the bench for going above and beyond in their work to keep things running effectively and efficiently at the court. Those honored include Tatyana Ristic who was named District Court Judicial Employee of the Year; Mark Vobis, named Deputy Marshal of the Year; Brian Hernandez, named District Court Judicial Marshal of the Year; Ronald Ramsey, named Judicial Marshal of the Year; Erica Page, named District Court Administrative Employee of the Year and Karen Christensen, named Clerk of the Court Employee of the Year. The ceremony was held at an all-judges meeting on June 13.

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Six Eighth Judicial District Court employees were honored by the bench for going above and beyond in their work to keep things running effectively and efficiently at the court. Those honored include Tatyana Ristic who was named District Court Judicial Employee of the Year; Mark Vobis, named Deputy Marshal of the Year; Brian Hernandez, named District Court Judicial Marshal of the Year; Ronald Ramsey, named Judicial Marshal of the Year; Erica Page, named District Court Administrative Employee of the Year and Karen Christensen, named Clerk of the Court Employee of the Year. The ceremony was held at an all-judges meeting on June 13.

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