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After 10 years on the District Court bench and 32 exceptional years in public service, Judge David Barker retired on Jan. 6. Judge Barker has been a steadfast figure in the court. He served the past two years as chief judge and on the court executive committee since 2011.
During his term as Chief Judge, Judge Barker was known for his commitment to serving the public, for being an excellent steward of public funds, and making the most of technology to improve efficiency. He conceived and worked to develop the Courtfinder “app” that puts court dockets in the palm of users’ hands. Additionally, the court made the list of the Top-10 Court Technology Solutions, as named by the National Association for Court Management.
Judge Barker’s leadership and ability to promote collaboration can been seen in Project 48, which reduced criminal bind-overs from 10-15 days to 48 hours. The project had a direct impact on reducing the average number of days in jail and generated significant financial savings. Project 48 demonstrated an impressive cooperative effort that included the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept., District Attorney’s and Public Defender’s offices, Justice Court, District Court, and the Nevada Criminal Defense Lawyers. Project 48 was selected by the National Association of Counties for their 2016 Achievement Award in the category of Court Administration and Management.
Judge Barker began his public service career in 1984, when he was sworn in as a Clark County Deputy District Attorney and promoted in 1989 to Chief Deputy District Attorney supervising the Major Fraud Division. In that role, he worked in numerous divisions including, criminal track team chief, screening, and Grand Jury/financial crimes. In 1991, he left the District Attorney’s Office for private practice with the law firm of Bell and Davidson. He returned to the District Attorney’s Office in 1992.
In March 2007, Judge Barker was appointed to Department 18 of the Eighth Judicial District Court by Governor Jim Gibbons and ran unopposed in both 2008 and 2014. He has served impeccably as jurist in Department 18 and his regard for the Constitution and the justice system has been exemplary. He is highly respected, regarded as fair, balanced, ethical and committed. During his time on the bench, he valued respectful courtroom decorum, efficiency and courtesy.
Judge Barker has donated countless hours to the Bar and community as a member of the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board and as a coach with Nevada State Bar sponsored High School Mock Trial program. His efforts have served to open doors for many young people interested in law careers. Judge Barker’s unwavering commitment to his family, career and his country are an example for all. Through his honor, virtue, and compassion, he has been an exemplary inspiration to the justice community. His consistent presence and steadfast leadership will be greatly missed.
District Court Discovery Commissioner Chris Beecroft Jr. passed away on Dec. 26. A celebration of life will be held on Jan. 12 at 3 p.m. in the Grand Hall of the UNLV Richard Tam Alumni Center. The family requests that donations of memoriam be made to the UNLV Boyd School of Law or in Chris’ name to a favorite charity of one’s own choice. In addition to his work in Discovery, Commissioner Beecroft oversaw the Alternative Dispute Resolution and the Short Trial programs.
Link to Las Vegas Review Journal story written by David Ferrara:
January 12, 2017 Jack And Lulu Lehman Scholarship Established To Help Fund Education Awarded To Outstanding Juvenile Drug Court Graduate
The first of the newly established Jack and Lulu Lehman scholarships has been awarded to help fund the education of an outstanding juvenile drug court graduate. The recipient was recently accepted to the College of Southern Nevada to study psychology. Each year, grants in the amount of $1,500 will be awarded to 10 qualified students who are graduates of the juvenile drug court program. The scholarships are intended to assist applicants with school tuition and educational fees during college, trade and/or vocational school attendance. Students who maintain a 2.5 GPA will have the opportunity to apply for a renewal of their grant each semester/term.
The Lehman Scholarship Fund has been set up by Steve Lehman and Jessica Lehman Hirsch to the honor their father, Judge Jack Lehman, who established the first drug court in Nevada in 1992. Scholarships will be awarded to graduates of the Eighth Judicial District juvenile drug court program who demonstrate an interest in furthering their education as part of their path to a better life in recovery. The Lehman Scholarship Committee members, including Nevada State Senator Michael Roberson, Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager, Jessica Lehman Hirsch, Steve Lehman, and a member of the California Community Foundation, made the award based on the youth’s demonstrated ability to overcome challenges in her life and willingness to obtain an education to enhance her opportunities in the future.
“Judge Jack Lehman was ahead of his time when he established the first adult drug court in Nevada. His legacy of investing in the hope and promise of recovery for people in this community will live on through these scholarships,” said District Court Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez.
For those who would like more information on the Jack and Lulu Lehman Scholarship Fund, visit www.calfund.org or contact Marilu Guzman with the California Community Foundation at (213) 452-6260.
“By establishing the first drug court in our state, Judge Jack Lehman took an important step that has turned so many lives around,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin. “This scholarship, which helps to educate young people who excel in drug court and want to better their lives, is a commendable way to honor the legacy of Judge Lehman.”
Under the direction of Judge William Voy, hearing master Margaret Pickard presides over the juvenile drug court.
“This scholarship offers reinforcement and a hand to the juvenile drug court participants who are getting their lives on the right track,” said Judge Voy. “It provides much needed educational funding, which greatly improves the odds for success for drug court participants.”
Nevada state Senator Michael Roberson and Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager will be joining Jessica Lehman Hirsch, Steve Lehman, and a staff member of the California Community Foundation, as members of the selection committee.
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 who work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens.
Tags: Clark County Drug Court, Drug Court, Jack and Lulu Lehman scholarships, Judge Charles Hoskin, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, Judge Jack Lehman, Judge Linda Bell, Judge William Voy, Las Vegas Drug Court
January 11, 2017 Local students face-off in mock-trials before Family Court Judges in lead-up to regional competition
Local high school students faced-off in an intense mock trial competition before actual District Court Judges Rebecca Burton, Cynthia Giuliani and Frank Sullivan. The judges volunteered their time and experience to preside over the competition. They gave the young legal eagles some valuable, real-world insight in round-one of mock trial competitions that lead up to a regional challenge.
The District Court Family Division hosted the Fourth Annual Faith Lutheran Mock Trial Competition on Jan. 7. Six teams totaling almost 50 students participated. The 27 students that earned highest scores will make up the Faith Lutheran Mock Trial teams that will move on to the regional competition on Feb. 11 at the Regional Justice Center.
Tags: Clark County Education, Eighth Judicial District Court, Faith Lutheran Mock Trial, Family Court, Judge Cynthia Giuliani, Judge Frank Sullivan, Judge Rebecca Burton, Las Vegas Education, Las Vegas Mock trials
As we begin 2017, we bid a fond farewell to Judge David Barker, who retired at the end of 2016 after 32 years of public service. We remember the sad passing of Judge Susan Scann, while we extend a warm welcome to Judge David Jones, who has since been appointed to Department 29. We also look to replace Judge Jessie Walsh, who retires this month after 13 years on the bench. So, it’s moving season for District Court. As part of the moving process we are relocating two groups of judges who hear common cases: business, probate and guardianship, to be in closer proximity to each other. This new arrangement should facilitate workflow and improve efficiency for all those involved with these case types.
There will be a total of nine court location changes including:
Dept. 7 Judge Linda Marie Bell will move to Courtroom 15A
Dept. 11 Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez will move to Courtroom TBA case-by-case
Dept. 13 Judge Mark R. Denton will move to Courtroom 3D
Dept. 14 Judge Adriana Escobar will move to Courtroom 14C
Dept. 15 Judge Joseph “Joe” Hardy Jr. will move to Courtroom 3H
Dept. 18 Sr. Judge Courtroom will move to Phoenix Bldg. 11th Floor
Dept. 20 Judge Louis Eric Johnson will move to 12A
Dept. 25 Judge Kathleen Delaney will move to Courtroom 3F
Dept. 26 Judge J. Sturman will move to Courtroom 10D
Below is a complete list of all the District Court courtrooms at the Regional Justice Center and the Phoenix building.
Eighth Judicial District Court at the Regional Justice Center
Dept. 1 Judge Kenneth C. Cory Courtroom 16A
Dept. 2 Judge Richard Scotti Courtroom 11D
Dept. 3 Judge Douglas W. Herndon Courtroom 16C
Dept. 4 Judge Kerry Earley Courtroom 16B
Dept. 5 Judge Carolyn Ellsworth Courtroom 16D
Dept. 6 Judge Elissa Cadish Courtroom 15B
Dept. 7 Judge Linda Marie Bell Courtroom 15A
Dept. 8 Judge Douglas E. Smith Courtroom 11B
Dept. 9 Judge Jennifer Togliatti Courtroom 10C
Dept. 10 Vacant Courtroom 14B
Dept. 11 Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez Courtroom TBA case-by-case
Dept. 12 Judge Michelle Leavitt Courtroom 14D
Dept. 13 Judge Mark R. Denton Courtroom 3D
Dept. 14 Judge Adriana Escobar Courtroom 14C
Dept. 15 Judge Joseph “Joe” Hardy Jr. Courtroom 3H
Dept. 16 Judge Timothy Williams Courtroom 12D
Dept. 17 Judge Michael Villani Courtroom 11A
Dept. 18 Vacant Courtroom Phoenix Bldg. 11th Floor
Dept. 19 Judge William “Bill” Kephart Courtroom 3E
Dept. 20 Judge Eric Johnson 12A
Dept. 21 Judge Valerie Adair Courtroom 11C
Dept. 22 Judge Susan Johnson Courtroom 15D
Dept. 23 Judge Stefany Miley Courtroom 12C
Dept. 24 Judge Jim Crockett Courtroom Phoenix Bldg. 11th Floor
Dept. 25 Judge Kathleen Delaney Courtroom 3F
Dept. 26 Judge J. Sturman Courtroom 10D
Dept. 27 Judge Nancy L. Allf Courtroom 3A
Dept. 28 Judge Ronald J. Israel Courtroom 15C
Dept. 29 Judge David Jones Courtroom 3B
Dept. 30 Judge Jerry A. Wiese II Courtroom 14A
Dept. 31 Judge Joanna S. Kishner Courtroom 12B
Dept. 32 Judge Rob Bare Courtroom 3C
Dept. H Judge T. Arthur Ritchie, Jr. Courtroom 3G
Dept. M Judge Bill Potter Courtroom 10B
Dept. S Judge Vincent Ochoa Courtroom 10A
If you need help finding courts, download the free Courtfinder app. Courtfinder, developed by the District Court Information Technology division with Judge David Barker, displays updated dockets in real-timefor the courts located at the Regional Justice Center. The application is easy to use and free to download from the Google Play and iphone app stores.
Bita Yeager has been named to fill the hearing master position for the Eighth Judicial District specialty courts. She was selected through a three-tiered recruitment process, established in an administrative directive for selecting District Court hearing masters and commissioners, that includes public input.
“Bita Yeager brings a diverse wealth of experience to the position of hearing master for the specialty courts,” said Eighth Judicial District Court Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. “Her qualifications are well-suited to the rigorous nature of the specialty courts and I anticipate that she will be a strong asset to the program that has great success turning lives around.”
Bita Yeager just finished her term as Justice of the Peace after becoming the first Asian-American to be appointed to the Las Vegas Justice Court. She specialized in indigent criminal defense for more than18 years with the Clark County Public Defender’s Office where, for a number of years, she handled the specialty courts dealing with the mentally ill. She has taught classes regarding the mentally ill in the justice system to both attorneys and Metro Officers (as part of their Crisis Intervention Team training).
In an effort to prevent recidivism, as a team chief at the Public Defender’s office, Bita spearheaded the creation of the North Las Vegas Community Court, a diversionary court providing counseling and employment training to young non-violent offenders. She also established a partnership between the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, and UNLV’s Boyd School of Law to create a pro bono record-sealing project, called “Clean Slate.” She created a partnership with the Immigration Clinic at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, to help the attorneys in her office better advise non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of their cases. In 2014, as a result of her efforts, Bita was awarded the Pro Bono Project Award of Excellence from Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and the President’s Award from the Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
Bita earned her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and her Juris Doctorate from the J. Reuben Clark School of Law.
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. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports: “nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent more than other sentencing options.”
Civil Bench-Bar meetings always provide plenty of food for thought for those practicing civil law, but the January 10 noon meeting in courtroom 3A, will have the added bonus of featuring a chili cook-off. It’s a tasty way to get the latest Civil Division info, find out which lawyer or judge cooks-up the meanest chili, and mingle.
At the December Bench-Bar, Judge Susan Johnson, now the Presiding Civil Division Judge, passed the baton for presiding over the Bench-Bar Meetings to Judge Nancy Allf. There were a lot of interesting hot topics at the meeting including: the implications of the the $15,000 threshold for Justice Court cases, new marijuana laws and the idea of raising the arbitration limit. Procedural issues were discussed for de novo cases including some quick tips on how to do things right and avoid wasting time. Nevada State Bar President Bryan K. Scott addressed concerns and fielded questions on a variety of topics. He noted that bar counsel investigators have been hired and the backlog of attorney discipline actions have been reduced. Laughlin Constable Jordan Ross provided information on complex civil enforcement in his jurisdiction.
Don’t miss the opportunity to attend the upcoming Civil Bench Bar meeting and don’t forget it is in courtroom 3A.