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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Category Archives: Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court

Congratulations to Marshal Johnathan Miller, a new graduate from the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy and recent addition to the Security Division of the Eighth Judicial District Court. Johnathan was one of a handful in his class who graduated with an outstanding grade point average (GPA).

Guest speaker United States Marshal Gary Schofield, stressed ethics and accountability when he addressed the graduating class. He reminded the new law enforcement grads, “The badge doesn’t belong to you. You get a different badge when you retire in good standing.”

Miller and others in his class completed 22 weeks of tough training including: arms, fight, tactical, vehicular, mental health and other essential training. They are tased, tackled, tormented and tested to their limits to ensure that they can withstand the intense rigors of being in law enforcement.

District Court is looking to recruit others who would like to serve as a 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.

Marshal Miller is the ninth graduate from the program.

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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 https://wp.me/p1tnuA-1tQ

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Judge Richard Scotti ruled to grant a petition filed by media outlets for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department for the release of video from body cameras worn by police, 911 calls evidence logs, surveillance video, interview reports and other materials from 1 October. Judge Scotti cited the Nevada Public Records acts and the Constitution when making his ruling. He said, “The Nevada Public Records Act, and the First Amendment to the Constitution provide the press with the ability to obtain and publish information about issues that affect the public interest; about the conduct of government officials; and provides the press with the tools to insure that the government is responsible and efficient. Furthermore, they provide the press with the tools to assist the public in holding its government accountable.”

Prior to his ruling, Judge Scotti said, “First and foremost, Metro officers, and all other public safety officers, must be praised for their courage, bravery, and resourcefulness in protecting the public, and conducting its investigations.  But this petition is not about the conduct of Metro. This petition is about public access to public records so that the purposes of the First Amendment may be achieved.”

Judge Scotti ordered rolling disclosure of the material. He ruled that personal information could be redacted and protective orders could be pursued for information that could compromise the investigation. The judge cautioned that the right to seek a protective order should be used sparingly. Attorneys were given a week to brief the issue of the records production costs. Judge Scotti said the he would then issue a minute order regarding the issue. He also ordered a status check on March 7 at 9 a.m.

 

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Michael Kagan was recognized by the District Court bench as the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month for January. Judge Joanna Kishner presented the award to Michael who serves the UNLV Immigration Clinic director.

The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada provided the below nomination information:

“Michael directs the Immigration Clinic at UNLV and teaches administrative law, professional responsibility, international human rights and immigration law. Before taking the position at UNLV, he worked in the Middle East for 10 years developing legal aid programs for refugees from Sudan, Iraq Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea. During his first year out of law school, he started a program in a loft above an Anglican Church in Cairo, Egypt where were trained educated Sudanese refugees to help other Sudanese refugees to prepare their cases for refugee protection and resettlement.

Under his direction, the Immigration Clinic trains student attorneys to represent people in complex deportation cases, innovates new ways to offer legal advice and representation to underserved people in immigration proceedings, and seeks to be a catalyst to expand legal services for the most at-risk indigent immigrants in Nevada. He also consults with the Clark County Public Defender on immigration considerations for non-citizen defendants in criminal cases.

When we asked Michael why he does pro bono work, he responded, “At the Immigration Clinic, all of our work is pro bono. I’ve been a client of free legal services at points in my life when I would have had trouble affording it. I just think access to justice is a right, no matter how much money people have.” remembers a Sudanese refugee he represented who was able to escape from Egypt.  The day before his client got on the plane, his client gave him a hug and said, “You’ve given my children a better life.” This was one of the most powerful things anyone has ever told him as a thank you.

For his commitment to representing clients with immigration issues, we honor Michael Kagan as the January Pro Bono Volunteer of the Month.”

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District Court Judges Valerie Adair, Doug Herndon, Eric Johnson, Jennifer Togliatti, Michael Villani and Nevada Appeals Court Judge Abbi Silver recently attended a four-day, intensive course on handling capital cases sponsored by the National Judicial College in Nashville, TN.

During the graduation ceremony for the course, Judge Villani was awarded The Certificate in Judicial Development General Jurisdiction Trial Skills with a plaque and certificate from the college. Judge Villani has 442.51 hours of continuing judicial education credit which qualified him for the Advanced Judicial Education Certificate.

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Judge Michael Villani

Continuing education requirements for Nevada judges are mandated by statute and Supreme Court order. Judges are required to keep their knowledge of the law current through comprehensive continuing education and training to promote the competency and professionalism of the Nevada judiciary. A complete overview of judicial educational requirements can be found on the Nevada Supreme Court website http://nvcourts.gov/AOC/Programs_and_Services/Judicial_Education/Overview.

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