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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Category Archives: Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court

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“The 8th JDC is operating a coordinated family division model at a scale that places it in a league of its own based on the breadth of case types it oversees,” reports the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges after an eight-month evaluation of the Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division. “Many challenges exist but NCJJ also documented a parade of strengths that other jurisdictions could benefit from emulating.” 

The independent evaluation was significant, with site-specific findings and recommendations for the Eighth Judicial District Court that include:

  • “The 8th JD Family Division is a progressive jurisdiction with regard to the use of administrative data systems and technology. They are enabling the generation of judicial orders in the courtroom, implementing 1J/1F case assignment, online dispute resolution and online TPO filing and strategies to enable judges/judicial teams to compose court orders for routine hearings and distribute at the conclusion of the hearing. It is the first jurisdiction that NCJJ has encountered with the capacity to use its data systems and information technology capacity to explore the inter-relationships of cases for families with multiple legal matters presented to the court over time. We view this strength as critical for operating Nevada’s coordinated family division model in a large, rapidly growing jurisdiction.”
  • “The commitment to provide non-adversarial procedures for family case resolution is strong in the 8th JDC, with a vision to meet the needs of families that are increasingly comfortable with online applications and dispute resolution tools.”
  • “The 8th JDC Family Division is exceptionally busy and operating at a lean staffing level when compared to other comparably sized jurisdictions such as family courts serving Kings County (Brooklyn) and Queens County in New York City, which have up to twice the overall judicial offer resource to hear similar range of case types. Nonetheless, the court’s leadership over the past five years is addressing the points of greatest stress. Sometimes the efforts are locally driven and other times they are in coordination with the Supreme Court of Nevada.”
  • “The pressures of an antiquated facility footprint designed for a jurisdiction half its current size is undeniable for Clark County. Family division administration is focused on extending the facility life and addressing safety concerns, while addressing the space allocation for self-represented parties and temporary protective order triage. During interviews, there were many critics and legitimate concerns, but the NCJJ team left with the impression that the court administration is focused on solutions until a long-term decision is made.”

“This assessment confirms that the Family Division is doing great work and implementing innovative programs that provide for the effective and efficient administration of justice,” said Presiding Family Division Judge Bryce Duckworth. “The assessment acknowledges that our Family Division is exceptionally busy and operating at ‘a lean staffing level when compared to other comparatively sized jurisdictions’ and notes that the Court’s leadership is ‘addressing the points of greatest stress.’ We should be proud of the work that is performed in the Family Division of the Eighth Judicial District Court. Nevertheless, we welcome the constructive feedback offered in the assessment and recognize the need to continue to look for ways to improve the services that we offer families in our community. We look forward to addressing the challenges identified in the full report and the site-specific findings and recommendations.”

Beginning in the mid-1980s, Nevada policy makers had a vision for addressing the needs of families in court in a coordinated manner. After a referendum on an amendment to the state Constitution, an ambitious coordinated family division model in judicial districts serving populations over 100, 000 people was implemented. The goal of the recent independent evaluation, conducted between January and August of this year in Clark and Washoe counties, was to determine if family court was meeting expectations of families and lawmakers, following state and local courts rules, and resolving legal disputes timely and effectively. Research was done through phone interviews, electronic surveys, and site visits.  To download the full report, visit https://nvcourts.link/FamilyDivisionAssessment.  According to the report, “There is a commitment to make sure that the case of the most vulnerable especially children are a priority for resource allocations.”

“The findings from this independent evaluation demonstrate that despite population increase and tremendous caseload growth that have stressed resources, through strategic evaluation, planning, work, commitment and effective use of technology the Eighth Judicial District Family Division has made great progress and is viewed as model for other courts. The study also makes apparent  there is a crucial  need to upgrade facilities to maintain adequate service to the public,” said Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “I applaud the work that has been accomplished by judges and staff to ensure that the community is being served in an effective and efficient manner that is in the best interests of families, especially given the less than optimum facilities and short staffing.”

The study was conducted over eight months by the research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The study’s purpose was to identify the high-level areas in which the coordinated family division operating models for juvenile and family law are meeting legislative goals.

The NCJJ study affirms that Nevada has a unique and ambitious vision for how courts should work for families in crisis. Nevada’s coordinated family division model brought together over 20 different case types in the juvenile and family law areas under one roof. The charge is to coordinate everything from divorces and child custody and child support, through child abuse and neglect matters and delinquency, to adult and juvenile guardianships, name changes and involuntary mental health commitment hearings.

The National Center for Juvenile Justice, located in Pittsburgh, Penn., is the oldest juvenile justice research group in the U.S., having conducted national and sub-national studies on crime and delinquency since 1973.

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The Supreme Court’s Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (NRCP) Committee did an exhaustive review that resulted in the changes to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (NRCP), the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure (NRAP), and the Nevada Electronic Filing and Conversion Rules (NEFCR). The changes were effective March 1.

There are significant changes to Discovery in the Amendment to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure; some of the changes are nuanced. It has been strongly suggested that the best way for attorneys to get a handle on the changes is to read the revised rules. Viewing the red-line version is a good way to sort through the changes

HTTPS://NVCOURTS.GOV/AOC/COMMITTEES_AND_COMMISSIONS/NRCP/ADOPTED_RULES_AND_REDLINES/

The rules are intended to ensure just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution of every action and proceeding. Over the next few months, to clear up questions from the bar the new rules will be covered in the Civil Bench-Bar meetings. Civil Bench-Bar Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month. The next Civil Bench-Bar meeting is April 9 at noon in courtroom 10D. Judge Joe Hardy will spotlight Rule 5-6. On May 14, there will be a presentation of NRCP proportionality Stand of Discovery presented by Jay Young Esq.

There are a few points that are of particular note. Documents are automatically accepted, electronically served and immediately available for filing.  Please note that if a party is not registered in the e-filing system, service is the responsibility of the filer.

Rule 16.3C outlines modifications made to the process of Reports and recommendations. Once the Commissioner or Acting Commissioner signs off on the Report and Recommendations with the new notice page, Discovery will now file and serve the original Report and Recommendations. An Order with a file-stamped copy of the Report and Recommendations (with run slip, if there is any) will be forwarded to departments.

Departments are now handling scheduling orders. Prior to issuing a scheduling order, the court will meet with the lawyers (parties may also be required to attend) to discuss discovery to ensure that the process is more meaningful as outlined in Rule 16: Pretrial Conferences; Scheduling; Management (a) Pretrial Conferences; Objectives. In any action, order the attorneys and any unrepresented parties to appear for a conference or conferences before trial for such purposes as: (1) expediting disposition of the action; (2) establishing early and continuing control so that the case will not be protracted because of lack of management; (3) discouraging wasteful pretrial activities; (4) improving the quality of the trial through more thorough preparation; and (5) facilitating settlement.

Discovery extension requests must go through the departments.

For the benefit of the bar and to ease confusion until the Eighth Judicial District Court (EJDC) amends its local rules to conform to the amended NRCP, NRAP, and MEFCR, the EJDC finds it necessary to suspend or modify certain District Court Rules. There are areas where rules are inconsistent with amendments to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure.  An Administrative Order ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 19-03 suspends those rules, to give clarity and ensure that the new rules take precedence over all local rules or district court rules. The local rules committee will make adjustments to eliminate inconsistencies, but it could take some time.

IT IS ORDERED the following rules are suspended or modified until further notice:

  1. Rule 1.14(a) through (c) is suspended;
  2. Rule 1.90(a)(2) is modified to strike references to the discovery commissioner and replace those references with “district judge;”
  3. Rule 1.90(b)(3) and Rule 1.90(b)(4) are suspended;
  4. Rule 2.20(b) is suspended. Motions requiring a hearing must include the designation “Hearing Requested ” in the caption on the first page of the

motion as follows:

Case No.

Dept. No.

HEARING REQUESTED

  1. Rule 2.34(f) and Rule 2.34(h) are suspended;
  2. 6. Rule 35(a) is modified to strike references to the discovery commissioner

and replace those references with “district judge” as the district judges will handle stipulations or motions to extend discovery deadlines;

  1. Rule 2.55 is suspended;
  2. Rule 5.602(g) is suspended;
  3. Rule 8.01 and Rule 8.03 through 8.16 are suspended.

If a document is filed incorrectly in a case, the department will strike the document and ask the attorney to refile the document in the proper case.

 A red-line version of the new rules can be found at THIS LINK. A PDF version of the revised rules affected by ADKT 522 can be found at THIS LINK.

 

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Judge Doug Smith

Judge Doug Smith

In a letter addressed to Governor Steve Sisolak, Judge Doug Smith announced his retirement from District Court department eight, effective April 12. In the letter he wrote, “I plan to retire to spend time with my family.”

Judge Smith, who is 67, has presided over both civil and criminal cases in the Nevada Eighth Judicial  District Court for just over 10 years. He began his long public service career in 1982, as a Public Defender in Clark County. He remained in that role for three years, until  he took a post as a prosecutor with the Clark County District Attorney’s office. He stayed with the DA’s office for seven years, until his election as a Justice of the Peace in 1995. His entire career has been in public service, with the exception of a short  period of time in private practice.

“Las Vegas has been good to me,” said Judge Smith while reflecting on his career. “I’m going to miss the work , the judges, the lawyers, the whole thing.” Judge Smith believes he had a responsibility to serve the community. “My theory is get things done. Hopefully it’s correct. I haven’t made everybody happy. When you make a decision as a judge, half the court leaves mad at you.”

Judge Smith is looking forward to spending quality time with his wife, Las Vegas native Kelly Brown, his three sons and a new grandchild on the way.

“I appreciate Judge Smith’s 37 years of service to our community and his dedication to the court,” said  District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell.

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 reviews applications from attorneys, interviews and then nominates three potential candidates for a final selection by the governor.

 

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RJCHoizCompress

Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave.

A delegation from Mexico including investigators, prosecutors and forensic experts will visit the Eighth Judicial District Court in the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave. on March 14 from 9 a.m. until noon to observe an oral, adversarial system of justice in action. The delegation comes from state attorney general offices throughout Mexico including: Querétaro, Nuevo León, Durango and Jalisco. They are here for the week in coordination with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office and the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG).

Mexico has been transitioning to an oral, adversarial system of justice for a few years. They are here to learn best practices as they make the transition.

District Court frequently serves as host to delegations from around the world looking to learn best practices and get ideas for new technology. “We welcome the delegation of justice professionals from Mexico to our court,” said Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “It is a real tribute to our legal professionals who are asked time and again to showcase their professional expertise and advancements with delegations from around the globe.”

 

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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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