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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

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Scarlett & Stephanie Bagunu

Hundreds of pinwheels will be planted at Family Court to symbolize hope for the more than 3,200 children in our community who face abuse and neglect, and are receiving services under the supervision of Family Court. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, and a great time to  get involved with organizations that help promote the social and emotional well-being of children and families in our communities. The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program is hosting this event to raise awareness about the need for more CASA volunteers and as an uplifting reminder of the bright futures that all children deserve, especially the children in the foster care system.   Those who want to learn more about how they can get involved are invited to join the pinwheel planting at the Eighth Judicial District Family Court flagpole, 601 N. Pecos Road on April 12, at noon.

For those interested in volunteering with the CASA program, monthly orientations are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m.at the Government Center, 500 S. Grand Central Pkwy and  every second and fourth Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Child Haven, 701 N. Pecos Rd. The next CASA Orientation is Apr. 13 at 11:30 a.m.

 “Every child deserves to live in a safe environment. CASA’s are the eyes, ears and voice to help to ensure that right”, said Family Court Judge Frank Sullivan, who oversees the CASA program. “We would like to have a CASA for every child that is under the supervision of the court. CASA’s play a big role in the future of the kids for whom they advocate.”

The CASA program recruits, screens, trains and supports volunteers to represent the best interests of hundreds of foster children annually. The advocates represent the children in school, child and family team meetings, and in court. Volunteering for the program involves a two-year commitment and a willingness to spend quality time with the children to advocate for them. In 1980, Judge John Mendoza led the creation of the Clark County CASA Program. The CASA mission continues to be fully supported by family judges.

“As the number of children in foster care grows, CASA ‘s are needed now more than ever,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Bryce Duckworth. “CASA volunteers accomplish extraordinary  things and we truly appreciate and thank them for what they do for the children in our community.”

For more information about the program call 702-455-4306, visit www.casalasvegas.org or visit www.facebook.com/#!/CASALasVegas.

 

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A baby cries as Judge Carolyn Ellsworth begins the graduation ceremony for the March class of drug court graduates. The judge smiles and tells those gathered, “It’s great to have the babies here. It’s great that they’re here and come into the world drug-free.” After completing an intensive treatment program, the class of 13 drug court participants graduate to a productive new life. “I’m like your mom, only meaner,” jokes Judge Ellsworth, who presides over the drug court program with the mission to get those with substance abuse issues to stop revolving through the justice system.

Specialty courts use a therapeutic approach that targets and treats the root-causes of the addiction that fuels the crimes committed to feed the addiction. Not a graduation goes by that a graduate does say that the program saved their life. They praise the program but they know the road ahead will be filled with challenges. Judge Ellsworth tells her graduates, “I’m going to miss you. I really am.” She encourages them to keep her informed of their progress and asks them stop by. “I wish I could guarantee you that your lives after drug will be perfect after drug court,” said Judge Ellsworth. “But that would be a complete lie; life isn’t like that.” She reminds the grads that they’ve been given the tools to deal with adversity in a productive way. She encouraged them to stay on the path to a fulfilling life.

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DC 7 Photo

The Hon. Linda Marie Bell, Hon. Stewart L. Bell (Ret.) and Constance Akridge, Esq. are the recipients of the Clark County Law Foundation 2019 Liberty Bell Award. The recipients will be honored on Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m., at the Historic Fifth Street School Auditorium, 401 S. 4th St.

The annual award recognizes individuals in the community who uphold the rule of law, contribute to good government within the community, stimulate a sense of civic responsibility, and encourage respect for the law in the courts.

Judge Linda Bell serves as the chief judge for the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court. Since taking the bench in January of 2009, Judge Bell handled both civil and criminal cases. She spent two and a half years managing all of the criminal division specialty courts and continues to preside over the veterans’ treatment court. Judge Bell has been a driving force in the proliferation of specialty courts, which have had a significant positive impact in the community.

Judge Bell also ran the grand jury for six years; served on the court’s legislative committee every legislative session since 2009, where she worked on successful efforts to pass legislation related to the grand jury, the OPEN program, funding for specialty courts and outpatient civil commitment.

In addition to serving on numerous legal associations, boards and educational committees for various organizations, she has taught both criminal law and criminal procedure at UNLV. She served as the president of the Howard D. McKibben Chapter of the Nevada Inn of Court from May 2012 to May 2014. Judge Bell volunteered for the Trial by Peers youth legal educational program, and was named their Judge of the Year in 2011.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Judge Linda Bell follows in the footsteps of her father Judge Stewart Bell (Ret.), who will also be awarded a Liberty Bell. He was elected to the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County, Department 7 in November 2002 and was sworn in as a district court judge in January 2003. Before becoming a judge, he served as Clark County District Attorney from 1995 to 2002. As a practicing attorney and jurist he has presided over hundreds of jury trials and is well regarded by counsel for his sharp analytical skills, knowledge of the law, and fair-mindedness.

Constance Akridge, Esq., a partner with Holland and Hart was also selected for a 2019 Liberty Bell.

The Clark County Law Foundation mission is to empower Nevada, especially our youth, through service to the community and education about the legal system and its history.

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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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At a recent visit to Matt Kelly Elementary School for a newspaper article on the Keeping Kids in School truancy diversion program, the community school liaison mentioned that they always need socks and underwear for kids who have “accidents.”  That mention prompted a little drive to help restock their emergency supply.  Through the generosity of some people at the District Court, on March 20, the woman who is the go-to source for kids needing resources got a special delivery of socks and underwear, plus some extras to be used as rewards for students in the program.

The Keeping Kids in School truancy diversion program involves judges, attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers who volunteer approximately three hours each week to and hold truancy court sessions at schools, where they meet individually with students and their parents. They review the students’ attendance, school work, and progress to ensure that students have the resources they need to be successful. The TDP judges promote and support academic achievement using a team effort and an individual student success plan. Since 2007, the TDP has expanded from six to 80 schools including elementary, middle schools and high schools. The goal of the Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division is to continue to expand until all Clark County schools have a TDP program.

The volunteer Truancy Diversion Judges are playing an important role in addressing the significant issue of truancy in Clark County. They listen to the kids, hear their issues, encourage and motivate them.

Keeping kids in school is important. Those without a high school diploma face higher prospects of unemployment and the associated negative consequences. This collaborative effort between the CCSD has been structured to prevent and reduce youth crime, re-engage students in learning, and ultimately, reduce potential costs to our welfare and justice systems. It is a non-punitive, incentive-based approach to at-risk school students with truancy problems. A team (judge, family advocate, school personnel) works with the students and their families.

If you are a licensed attorney, mental health professional or law enforcement officer and are interested in volunteering as a TDP judge for this Specialty Court program please call 702-455-1755.

 

 

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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