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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Category Archives: In the community

At the first of three Ministry of Magic vs. Harry Potter mock trials with Meadows School fourth graders the courtroom was buzzing. Excited students gleefully buzzed around while many of their parents looked on shooting photos and video. Before the trial, the mini legal eagles grilled District Court Judge Douglas Herndon on every legal question they could think up. Judge Herndon patiently answered all of them. The students got to see the judge do his morning calendar. After, he asked the students what two elements most criminals have in common. The students quickly responded “drugs” but were stumped for the second element. “Lack of education,” said Judge Herndon. The students went through the case serving as prosecution, defense, witnesses, jurors and judge. The jury deliberated in a real jury room with pizza, just like a real jury. Judge Herndon explained that criminal trials have 12 jurors who must be unanimous in their decision in order to gain a conviction. He explained that civil trials have eight jurors and six must agree to reach a verdict. Two more classes will visit District Court for their turn to learn the law in a real courthouse on May 1 and May 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the Eighth Judicial District Court, in the Regional Justice Center.

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ImageThe Eighth Judicial District Court has been alerted to a resurgence of a scam relating to jury service. Individuals falsely identifying themselves have been phoning Clark County citizens claiming that the victims need to pay a fine or appear before a judge for failure to appear for jury service. The scammers then attempt to get funds from the victims, often asking for debit card information.

Residents should be advised that these phone calls are not coming from court officials, nor are the calls authorized or in any way approved by the court. Residents are advised not to disclose any personal or financial information to a caller claiming to collect funds for missed jury service, and should report the matter to law enforcement officials for investigation. A key red-flag is the request for money. No official representatives of the court will call to solicit money for any purposes.

“I want to make it clear that the court never solicits money on the telephone and I urge residents to report suspicious calls to law enforcement,” said District Court Chief Judge Jennifer P. Togliatti. “Jury service is a pillar of the American justice system. Judges value the jury service of our citizens and it is unfortunate that criminals try to exploit those who are unable to serve.”

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).

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court is one of the busiest courts in the nation. Fifty-two judges preside over approximately 100,000 criminal, civil and family cases that are filed each year in District Court. The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court judges and staff continuously work to develop new ideas, maximize efficiencies and improve access to justice. For more information about the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court, please visit our website at clarkcountycourts.us.

 

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As a court employee, I often get the question, “how do I get out of jury duty?” Those who really have a hardship can get out of serving. But those who just don’t feel like serving could be missing out on an experience that is not only interesting, but might help them navigate the law in their own lives. We might be better off using reverse psychology and telling people that only a very special, select group of people get to serve; then, everyone would want to serve. Most judges have a story about a potential juror who tried to get out of serving and then ended up really liking the experience.

At District Court, we get tours from judges and court employees from around the world including: China, Russia and the Ukraine. They don’t use juries; but, they are definitely interested in the American system of jury trials. Our justice system is respected and viewed as a model worldwide. Jury trials are one of the many rights guaranteed by the Constitution that make the United States exceptional.

Bethany Barnes with the Las Vegas Sun interviewed judges and got a sample of the excuses people use to skate out on jury duty http://lasvegassun.com/news/2014/feb/28/dog-ate-my-summons-and-other-unique-excuses-get-ou/.

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There are so many young people in our community who need someone to speak up for them, they need an advocate.  It can be tough enough to navigate going to school and making the grade when all is well in life.  Unfortunately, so many kids in our community have no great role models or people who care.  Through no fault of their own, there is no real family to serve as role model, caretaker or anything else. There are thousands of kids in foster care who have been through a lot and have been shuffled around, a lot. You can help. You can volunteer to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA for short).  Family Court is preparing to swear in around 20 graduates of the advocate training program this month; but it is not nearly enough volunteers to cover the more than 2000 foster kids in our community.  More people are needed to advocate for them in school and other areas.  CASA volunteers are really making a difference, really helping young people stay on track and accomplish goals. 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 CASA 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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Truancy Diversion Program To Kickoff September 16 For New School Year To Keep Students In School And On Track for Success

The Family Court Truancy Diversion Project (TDP) is holding their new school year kickoff on September 16 at 12:15 p.m. at Family Court, 601 N. Pecos in Courtroom 9. The program is offering great opportunity for attorneys and law clerks to make a difference in the community by serving as judges for the Truancy Court Diversion Project (TDP). This early intervention program is aimed at keeping truant students in school and on the path to success.

Truant youth are more likely to drop out of school. In Clark County around 60,000 children are truant during the school year. Nevada’s dropout rate is reported to be the highest in the nation. Everyday in Family Court, judges see first-hand the fallout from truancy and its negative consequences. Teen pregnancy, high unemployment and the likelihood of falling into the criminal justice system are all linked to truancy and school dropout.

The goal of the TDP is to reduce the number of students entering the formal juvenile justice system as a result of skipping school. Truancy is often a symptom of greater need within the family. The truancy program strategy includes identifying and addressing a variety of family issues including substance abuse or lack of basic necessities such as food, clothing, and housing. The program also promotes improvement in academic achievement and attempts to reduce student behavioral problems.

“The Truancy Diversion Program doesn’t just benefit these students but it benefits our community as a whole. Higher graduation rates lead to a stronger more employable community,” said District Court Judge Jennifer Elliott. “Volunteering to serve as a judge in the Truancy Court Diversion Project is worthwhile work. Our young students gain so much from the guidance provided by the volunteers in this program.”

The TDP judges wear robes and preside during the diversion program on school property. Sessions usually begin at about 7:30 a.m. once a week for two to three hours. The judge meets with the student, family and advocates to address issues, monitor progress, make recommendations and reward positive behavior.

Attorneys or law clerks interested in volunteering should contact Debbie Rose at 455-1755 or e-mail rosed@clarkcountycourts.us. For more information about the Truancy Court Diversion Project visit http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/ejdc/programs-and-services/TDP/index.html for more information about the courts please visit our website at http://www.clarkcountycourts.us.

The Truancy Diversion Program demonstrates how the Eighth Judicial District Court is working to strengthen the community. District Court continuously works to develop innovative ideas, improve efficiencies, address issues and improve access to justice. For more information about the courts, please visit our website at clarkcountycourts.us.

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The Family Court Judges are implementing a 12-point plan that will meet the Eighth Judicial District Court goal of achieving timely permanency for children in the foster care system. That plan includes taking one Judge who hears a domestic caseload and assigning that judge to an abuse and neglect caseload. Now three judges hear abuse and neglect calendars fulltime. The departments that handle domestic cases are shouldering an average six percent heavier caseload to provide dedicated judges for foster care cases.

Late last year, Chief Judge Jennifer P. Togliatti issued an administrative order which established a special committee to examine access to justice in the dependency court by looking at court rules, court case management, case assignment, whether case processing delays are related to hearing master resources and duties as defined in EDCR 1.46, timeliness of trials and hearings, judicial resources, statistics and their definitions, statutory timeliness, trial stacks and other related matters. After a three-month review of the court’s approach to permanency for children and their families, the committee submitted a comprehensive report with 12 recommendations. Most critical was the examination of case assignment and judicial resources. The committee exhaustively reviewed the number and types of hearings in 2012.

The committee sought input from community partners. Three main issues were identified: the lack of use of bench cards for consistency; barriers to notification of appointment of counsel; and the slow, outdated method of sharing discovery (which contributed to frequent requests for continuances). The committee took immediate action and addressed barriers to information sharing for dependency cases. 

 The caseload and case assignment of juvenile dependency matters were examined. The protective custody hearing was noted as an extremely important hearing. It was determined that protective custody hearings associated with foster care, should only be heard by the dependency judges and one hearing master should be assigned to one judge. The judge should assign certain hearings to their designated masters to facilitate the case management of the case.

Several case processing delays were identified, the two most prominent: appointment of counsel and delay in receiving discovery. Case processing was re-engineered to use automation whenever possible. 

One of the critical issues facing this committee was the development of accurate statistics so they could make sound recommendations. The Eighth Judicial District Court Information Technology Division provided accurate, verifiable statistics. In addition, the IT division created a caseload report to assist in measuring statutory timelines. Scanners were installed in all the dependency courtrooms. Other new procedures were implemented including: preliminary protective hearing initiating process, case plan procedures, reasonable efforts procedures, and case initiation from petition procedures. These changes enable the tracking of timeliness.  “The Family Court judges have  unanimously agreed and rallied together to make this 12-point plan work to help children who need a stable, loving and permanent home, said Presiding Family Court Judge Gloria O’ Malley. “Streamlining case processing will improve outcomes for some of our community’s most vulnerable children and the case reassignment will enable the “one family – one judge” model for juvenile dependency cases.

“I would like to acknowledge the outstanding work accomplished by the committee chaired by Judge Arthur Ritchie and included Justice Nancy Saitta, Judge Charles Hoskin, Judge Frank Sullivan, Judge Robert Teuton, court executive officer Steve Grierson; assistant county manager Jeff Wells and the executive director of Legal Aid of Southern Nevada Barbara Buckley,” said Chief Judge Togliatti. “I would also like to acknowledge the cooperative spirit demonstrated by the Family Court Judges who worked together in order to make the needed case reassignment work.”

 

The foster care improvement demonstrates how the Eighth Judicial District Court is using technology and alternative, more efficient methods to improve the delivery of justice. District Court continuously works to develop innovative ideas, improve efficiencies, address issues and improve access to justice. For more information about the courts, please visit our website at clarkcountycourts.us.

 

 

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