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Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Category Archives: Clark County Specialty Courts

Far too many families with loved ones facing addiction end up with heartbreak. The stories shared at the recent Eighth Judicial District Specialty court graduation were heartwarming. Families and friends came to cheer on loved ones who many previously feared were forever lost to their addiction. Success stories for those who have overcome addiction, translate to families that can rest easier knowing that they don’t have to worry about their family member being on the street, getting arrested or worse. It means that that their loved one will rejoin their family, be responsible and have a chance at a positive life. It’s a burden lifted from families that ripples through our community.

Three veterans were among this class of graduates. They received specially made quilts from Jarenie Trachier with Valor Quilters of Nevada. The quilts are presented in gratitude of the veterans’ service and to provide them comfort during challenging times.

Congresswoman Susie Lee, who represents Nevada’s third district, addressed the latest class of  grads to complete their intensive treatment programs to start a new life. “This program not only gets you back on your feet, but it also prevents recidivism and coming back through the revolving door,” said Congresswoman Lee. She was referring to the revolving door of addiction and incarceration. Congresswoman Lee encouraged, “When you’re going through hell, just keep on going. There’s going to be times that are trying over the next few years.” She congratulated the grads, thanked the courts, the treatment coordinators and the families and friends who supported the grads on their journey. She said, “It’s  the programs like this on the ground that are really improving people’s lives.”

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Graduation from the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court felony DUI (FDUI) program comes with a certificate, a supportive hug, a lifeline to resources and a whole new lease on life. After three to five years of rigorous treatment, participants get the tools they need to control their life, beat their addiction, act responsibly and leave DUI’s in the dust. The felony DUI program is using one-year grant of $30,000 awarded in late 2019 by the Nevada Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety to increase program retention rates, up success rates and improve public safety.  In 2019, 112 graduates successfully completed the program. So far in 2020, five have graduated with seven participants scheduled to graduate on Feb. 14 at a 3 p.m. ceremony in the jury services room.

As part of the 2019 grant application process, the Office of Traffic Safety looked at the success of the  Felony DUI program. Of those admitted to the FDUI program from Jan.  2015 to Jan. 2018, 72 percent completed the three to five year program. The Felony DUI program involves intensive treatment, counselling, random urine analysis and weekly support meetings. Participants in the program have three DUI’s (with no resulting injured parties) within seven years. They are on probation during the entire program and serve a minimum six months under house-arrest. All participants are required to have a breath interlock device on any vehicle they own, operate or have access to  during the entire time they are in the program.

“This Nevada Department of Public Safety  grant will enable District Court to add needed resources to successfully manage the significant Felony DUI Court caseload,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “Intensive treatment over time provides those with a history of DUI’s the tools to address their addiction issues. Ultimately, this makes our community safer.”

FDUI program currently has 326 participants in the program. The court coordinator is responsible for intensive clinical case management. They communicate with all collaborative partners, gather information on how participants are doing in therapy. They also problem solve issues, facilitate successes for clients and make clinical recommendations to the judge on treatment.

“I see firsthand how this program helps participants take responsibility for their actions and change,” said Hearing Master Shannon Wittenberger, who presides over the Felony DUI Court. “This funding gives us the ability to add much needed resources to improve success rates and be more effective at treating those in the program.”

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court specialty courts are an effective way to address root-causes that lead to addiction and recidivism. Intensive treatment has proven to be a cost effective way to keep participants in specialty courts from revolving through the justice system. The Nevada Eighth Judicial District specialty courts include veterans court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, gambling treatment diversion court, family treatment drug court, juvenile drug court and a youth autism court.

 

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Nevada Attorney General speaks from heart link: https://youtu.be/ZviGPVaa1mY

Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke from the heart and got “vulnerable” with 36 specialty court grads about going from tough times and tough neighborhoods to being the top law enforcement officer for the state. He spoke about challenges he faced and overcame to achieve success. The attorney general said, “We all make mistakes,” later adding, “Some of us make bad decisions.” After sharing his own challenges he said, “You have been given an opportunity through these programs to reintegrate into our society; and as you do that you can accomplish goals.”

The graduates included those from veterans’, mental health, felony DUI, adult drug court, the transitional age program, the OPEN program, and drug court were individually recognized by their presiding judge with a certificate of completion, a special graduation coin and cake. Each of the grads have successfully completed an intensive treatment program aimed at addressing the root-causes of addiction.

Four veterans were included in the graduates. The graduates each received a Quilt of Valor from the Las Vegas chapter of the organization. The Quilt of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003, by Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts from her sewing room. The local chapter of Quilt of Valor meets the second Friday of the month at 8670 W. Cheyenne Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 105 to make the quilts. Volunteers are always welcome; no quilting experience is necessary. For more information call 702-357-0377.

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.

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A gambling diversion treatment court mock trial with Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Cheryl Moss filled a conference room at the 17th International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking on May 30 at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The mock trial presented a step-by-step look at a gambling diversion eligibility hearing.

More than 500 professionals from at least 34 countries from across the globe came to the gaming mecca of the world to learn what’s new. Topics at the four-day conference included innovation in policy, regulation, consumer protection, and problem gambling. Judge Moss presided over the mock trial with participation from moderator Carol O’Hare with Nevada Council on Problem Gambling; Dayvid Figler and Caitlyn McAmis with Figler Law Group; Sydney Smith with RISE Center for Recovery; and  Stephanie Hui, Eighth Judicial specialty court coordinator and a volunteer from the audience. The question and answer session ran over as doctors, gaming executives, researchers and other professionals peppered Judge Moss and the mock trial team with questions.

The District Court gambling diversion treatment court is the second in the nation. As gambling is springing up in states across the nation, the gambling treatment court is breaking ground in a much needed field. Professionals from courts in several states have been researching the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court model for adoption in their courts. “The International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness about our gambling diversion treatment court to the world,” said Judge Moss, who presides over the specialty court.

Judge Moss has been invited to multiple future conferences to present on the gambling treatment diversion court including speaking engagements for the State Bar of Nevada Gaming Law Section, the National Center for Responsible Gaming, and the State of Rhode Island Judiciary and treatment professionals.

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court specialty courts are an effective way to prevent participants from revolving through the justice system. 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.

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The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court will celebrate a new class of specialty court graduates on May 10 at 3 p.m. in the jury services room of the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. The graduates will include two who are part of a specialty court prison re-entry program.

The District Court was recently awarded a grant of nearly $350,000 from the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) Bureau of Behavioral Health Wellness and Prevention Opioid State Targeted Response (STR). The grant is being used for a comprehensive specialty court prevention plan with medically assisted treatment (MAT) for opiate abuse among those who are re-entering the community after incarceration.

An estimated 65 percent of individuals in U.S. prisons and jails have a substance abuse disorder. Opioids rank high as their drug of choice. Medically assisted treatment paired with counseling treatment, has proven to be an effective way to address addiction, put a dent in the opioid epidemic and stem the related criminal activity. Effective treatment provides better results at a lower cost than repeated incarceration.

Specialty court coordinators, the parole re-entry unit, and prison/jail professionals work together to identify program participants who go through an intensive six-month program that begins with a three-month stabilization period. Participants are placed in coordinated care housing and receive inpatient and/or intensive outpatient services, case management, medically assisted treatment, discharge planning and assistance with coordination of long-term housing, permanent housing, and assistance with obtaining food stamps, medical care, Medicaid and other programs such as Social Security. They are also provided case management around employment assistance including referrals, and training. The goal is to increase employment among the participants to improve the likelihood of success, cut substance abuse and decrease recidivism.

“This Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health funding enables the court, with the help of the Nevada Department of Corrections, to effectively tackle the epidemic of opioid abuse that is thwarting potential rehabilitation for those who are released from incarceration with a substance abuse issue,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell, who presides over the MAT specialty court. “We cannot incarcerate our way out of the opioid crisis. Creative solutions such as this must be used to stem the tide of this epidemic.”

“The infusion of federal funding to Nevada continues to allow us to improve access to treatment and recovery support services for people with significant barriers to care.  We know that individuals within the criminal justice system have a greater risk of overdose death than other people.  Through this collaboration with the Eighth Judicial District, we hope we can reduce that risk and support people to move to full recovery from opioid addiction.  Medication Assisted Treatment is the gold standard for care and access within court systems is critical in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Dr. Stephanie Woodard, DHHS Senior Advisor on Behavioral Health, from the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

Specialty courts, solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, specialty court coordinators, 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.  Thirteen participants are in the MAT program that is expected to eventually have 30 participants. Court sessions began in December 2018 and are held every other Friday at 9:30 a.m.

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At every specialty court graduation, at least one person tells those gathered that the program saved their life. At the November graduation a drug court graduate said just that. They weren’t exaggerating. Those that end up in specialty courts get there after heading down a very dangerous path. Most participants have had multiple felony arrests, lost their family, friends, jobs and stability. The death toll from the opioid crisis is well publicized and touches families from every walk of life.

Those arrested generally end up revolving through overcrowded prisons. Specialty courts offer an alternative. Specialty courts work to address substance abuse and the related crimes 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 Nevada Eighth Judicial District specialty courts include veterans’ court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, family treatment drug court, autism court and a new gambling treatment court. Every graduation their success can be seen in the eyes of the family and friends who come to support their loved one back from the abyss.

A graduate from veterans’ court told the graduates, “The greatest gift you can give your family is your recovery.”

Six veterans were included in the graduates. A color guard opened the ceremony and the graduates each received a Quilt of Valor from the Las Vegas chapter of the organization. The Quilt of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003, by Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts from her sewing room. Blue Star moms are those who have a son or daughter in active service. Her son Nathanael’s deployment to Iraq served as the initial inspiration for the foundation. That has since spread across the nation and presented thousands of quilts nationwide to those who have served our country.

The local chapter of Quilt of Valor meets the second Friday of the month at 8670 W. Cheyenne Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 105. Volunteers are always welcome; no quilting experience is necessary. For more information call 702-357-0377.

Specialty court graduates get good advice from judge

Specialty court grads experience rebirth

Drug court saved my life

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The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court (EJDC) has been awarded an $381,551 U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs grant for mental health court (MHC). The court applied to the Justice Department for the grant to employ an improved strategy in the MHC that focuses on justice involved adults in Clark County who are severely and persistently mentally ill; the majority of whom are also diagnosed with co-occurring disorders including substance abuse. Individuals with serious mental illness routinely have multiple contacts with local hospitals, jails, and prisons and end up costing taxpayers significant dollars as a result of their repeated contact with those institutions.

The EJDC MHC provides intensive treatment and will use the DOJ grant funding to implement an actuarial, gender-responsive criminogenic risk/need assessment to tailor the services and supervision for mental health court participants according to their needs. The grant will fund implementation of capacity analysis, training on the implementation of the Women’s Risk Needs Assessment and the adoption of cognitive-behavioral, gender-responsive programming.

“This funding provides resources to do risk/needs assessments to improve intervention strategies, case planning and resource management,” said Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who presides over the Mental Health Court. “Our goal is to reduce recidivism and facilitate positive outcomes for  Mental Health Court participants through data driven implementation of correctional rehabilitation and case planning.”

“The Department of Justice grant gives mental health court tools to improve the effectiveness of treatment aimed at preventing participants from revolving through the justice system,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “The Justice Department’s commitment to funding the mental health court validates the positive  results of treatment, versus a return of those with mental illness to the streets after incarceration with no help and the significant likelihood that they will re-offend.”

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court specialty courts are an effective way to address root-causes that lead to recidivism. The specialty courts include veterans court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, family treatment drug court, juvenile drug court and autism court. The court  is in the process of beginning a gambling treatment diversion court.

 

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