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Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

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The Medical Dental Malpractice Status Check Calendar, more commonly known as Med Mal Sweeps, will be held on Monday, Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. at the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. in Courtroom 14A. There are some significant change this time around including: if the trial department has been set, or your trial had already been set, re-set, or vacated in a previous Med Mal Sweeps, you don’t need to attend the Aug. 7 sweeps for that case and must instead coordinate with your respective trial judge.

The Aug. 7 Med Mal Sweeps calendar will be heard in numerical case number order with the oldest case being heard first, as follows:

  • All med mal cases never set for trial, with complaints filed up to June 5, 2017 if a joint case conference report (JCCR) has been filed.
  • All med mal cases formerly assigned to departments 3, 9, 20, and 21 that have since been re-assigned as of July 1, 2017, will be called at the Aug. 7 sweeps.

A list of cases can be viewed at a link below or on the Clark County and Nevada State websites.

Contrary to prior sweeps, the discovery commissioner won’t be present to address discovery issues, because only trial-ready cases in which the trial schedule order has been established by the latest JCCR or SCHO (Scheduling Order) will be heard.

The court will work to enforce NRS 41.A.061.1, and will attempt to set all Chapter 41A Professional Negligence trials (not already scheduled) within three years of the date that the Complaint was filed. Please bring a list of all the cases at which you will be appearing to the hearing. Those who may have questions regarding the calendar can contact Tatyana Ristic at (702) 671-3633.

atty 8-7-17 MED MAL CALENDAR

August Medmal Sweeps

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Judge Jennifer Elliot has been presiding over the dependency mothers’ drug court since 2008. It is a program that has helped to get many mothers away from the clutches of addiction and into the arms of their children. This week, three more moms graduated from the program.  That’s a handful of kids who won’t have to be in foster care; who won’t have to wonder where mom is; and who will have someone who loves them deeply caring for them.

In front of others going through the program, Judge Elliot asked each of the graduates how they felt upon graduation. She said, “Nobody knows what the journey is going to look like when they start out, and I want others to hear how to be successful at it.” The moms graduating lit up when given the opportunity to share how they felt. One mom said, “I’m very, very happy where I am and how far I’ve come.  It’s amazing being able to be with my son, sober; to watch him grow and remember that.” Judge Elliot told each of the graduates that she was very proud of them. She also offered a word of advice to a father with one of the graduating moms, who has his own struggles. She said, “Setback doesn’t mean failure, it just means you just have to keep on keeping on.”

Judge Elliot is turning over the administration of the dependency mothers’ drug court to Judge Frank Sullivan who handles abuse and neglect cases. She told those in court that Judge Sullivan would ensure that the program would continue to be successful. Judge Sullivan responded, “No one can replace Judge Elliot.” Program participants gave Judge Elliot a giant farewell card. The judge who launched the specialty court aimed at helping moms with addiction won’t be managing the day-to-day of the program, but the legacy of what she accomplished since 2008 will carry on for generations.

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Have you worked with Mary Bacon? Maybe you have worked with someone who worked with Mary Bacon. Mary is an attorney with Spencer Fane, LLP. She is a member of the Women’s Leadership Council through United Way and was a member of Leadership Las Vegas’ Class of 2016. Mary is also the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada June pro bono volunteer of the month. At the July 19 Civil Judges Meeting, Mary Bacon was recognized by the judges of the Eighth Judicial District Court for her volunteer work providing pro bono legal services to low income individuals in need.

Those who have worked with Mary probably know she is a special person. Since she began volunteering with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada in 2014, she has accepted eight new pro bono cases in a range of areas, including child abuse and neglect, civil/consumer, domestic violence and divorce. As a regular volunteer with the Landlord/Tenant Ask-A-Lawyer program, she provides free consultations to pro se litigants in need of legal advice.

If you’re an attorney and you haven’t worked with Mary, you can get within six degrees of separation by volunteering to be a pro bono attorney yourself. Mary and the other lawyers who volunteer their time have shared that they find pro bono work to be very rewarding.

The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada informed the judges: “Mary represented a domestic violence victim who suffers from a seizure disorder and who needed assistance with a divorce and support matter. The husband was represented by counsel, and Mary’s client felt bullied throughout the negotiation process when she was unrepresented. Mary accepted this case one week before the scheduled trial. The client suffered verbal abuse throughout her marriage and the parties split due to the ex-husband’s infidelity. Mary worked on the client’s case non-stop for one week, and after several failed settlement offers, Mary showed up ready to try the case. Right before the trial was supposed to start, the parties engaged in a judicially orchestrated settlement. The client received almost three times the amount she had previously considered settling for when unrepresented. After the settlement, the client hugged Mary, and told her that she is now able to start a new life with the settlement she received, and no longer felt dependent upon an abusive ex-husband.”

The Legal Aid Center reports that Mary said, “This case touched my heart because I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by strong women who are always happy to assist me and point me it the right direction, and I was so happy to be able to help another woman in such a meaningful way on International Women’s Day.”

Attorneys who would like to make a difference in the life of someone in need by doing pro bono work, can visit to get started.

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Wildfires in Northern Nevada have reportedly caused the Nevada Legislature website to go down just when many changes impacting the courts are going into effect. The good news is that attorneys who are looking to get the top information on legislation impacting the courts can get it at the Tuesday, July 11 Civil Bench-Bar Meeting. Judge Gloria Sturman will present a summary of the changes at the July 11 Bench-Bar meeting at noon in courtroom 10D.

The June Nevada Supreme Court decisions will also be reviewed at the Bench-Bar. Attorneys are encouraged to bring up other topics or questions they may have to be addressed. The Civil Bench-Bar meetings are a great opportunities for members of the Bar Association to get important information on the courts, network and grab a bite to eat.

Upcoming Dates/Events

Business Court Bench/Bar quarterly meeting – September 26, Courtroom 3H

Criminal Judges Meeting, August 16, at 12 p.m., Courtroom 16C

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A recent graduate of Veterans’ court read a letter to a courtroom full of veterans who are in the process of recovering from addiction and atoning for their entanglements with the law. The new grad made the long, hard trek to recovery with the help of the therapeutic court program.

In the hopes of helping his fellow vets envision their own recovery he shared: ” I entered this program the same way all of us did, it was due to lack of accountability, responsibility and discipline. Addiction is unbiased in its pursuit. Moral deficiency, that is exactly what I thought I had. Believe me when I say I am a very disciplined person with integrity, correct morals and a firm belief in my ethics, boundaries and knowledge of my boundaries; until pain killers entered my life.

The stress of my job, the loss of my friends, the multiple high action and high stress events I’ve been through and almost lost my life while on the job, The things I’ve seen that I cannot unsee and the multiple injuries I sustained during my careers, all did not help and all built up because I did not deal with it appropriately.  Pain killers went from medicating to addiction. It slowly crept in and by the time it hit and grabbed hold, I felt loss and felt trapped.”

He expressed thoughts on his depression and how he hid it. Then he shared,” What I’ve learned is that there are three options you have when adversity or a traumatic event happens to you; you can let it define you, you can let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you. Understand that mistakes are what you did, they’re not who you are. To help us improve and stay the course you must have an attitude of gratitude, a positive philosophy and a decision making framework that you run all decisions through, as long as you have breath in your lungs and blood in your veins, you can shape your mind and body to be successful, grateful and happy. Stay humble. And stop talking negative about who’s done you wrong and your situation, it just keeps you feeling discouraged and negative. You can’t control the thoughts that pop up in your head, but you have the power to redirect them to happy thoughts or at least calmer thoughts. And start talking more positive, more compassionate and understanding you will feel those positive feelings build and you will have re-wired your brain so that it simply becomes second nature.”

The new veterans’ court graduate challenged his fellow soldiers to thrive and persevere through their recovery and to become happy, successful and grateful. When he concluded his speech, Judge Adriana Escobar, who presides over the veterans’ court, applauded and reminded him to utilize the recovery resources in the community to stay on track. The judge gave him his certificate of completion and a hug, then Victoria Hall wrapped him in a Quilt of Valor to comfort him through any potential dark times ahead in his life-long journey of recovery.

The veteran’s letter can be seen in its entirety here: Veterans’Letter7_5_17

Victoria Hall is a Blue Star mom; her son spent 24 year in the Marine Corp assault unit. The Quilt of Valor Foundation was founded in 2003 by Blue Star mom Catherine Roberts from her sewing room. Blue Star moms are those who have a son or daughter in active service. Her son Nathanael’s deployment to Iraq served as the initial inspiration for the foundation. That has since presented thousands of quilts nationwide to those who have served our country. The local chapter of Quilt of Valor meets the second Friday of the month at 8670 W. Cheyanne Ave. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room 105. Volunteers are always welcome; no quilting experience is necessary. For more information call 702-357-0377.

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DSC_1038Effective July 1, a pilot project will begin to examine the potential benefits of centralizing the management for cases wherein a defendant has been charged with a “homicide crime,” with the intent of improving efficiency in the management and timely disposition of such cases.

It was ordered by District court Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez in Administrative Order 17-05 pursuant to EDCR 1.30(b), to form a Homicide Team consisting of four district judges, with one to function as the Homicide Team Case Management Judge and three to function as Homicide Team Members. The four judges on the homicide team are: Presiding Criminal Judge Doug Herndon, Judge Valerie Adair, Judge Eric Johnson and Judge Jennifer Togliatti. The four judges will handle other criminal matters, but their civil matters have been reassigned to other judges. Pursuant to EDCR 1.30(b), the Homicide Team shall prioritize homicide crime cases over all other criminal cases in their caseloads.

A “homicide crime” case, for purposes of this order, is limited to cases involving a crime of Open Murder, First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter and/or Involuntary Manslaughter, as those crimes are delineated in NRS 200.010 through NRS 200.260, as well as any associated offenses charged within the same case.

Chief Judge Gonzalez posted the following letter on the court website:

As reflected in Administrative Order 17-05, effective July 1, 2017, the Eighth Judicial District Court will reassign cases among several departments as follows:

  1. All civil cases in Departments 3, 9, 20, and 21, except for certain cases specifically designated for retention by the aforementioned departments, shall be randomly and equitably reassigned to judicial departments carrying civil caseloads.
  2. All “homicide crime” cases, as defined in Administrative Order 17-05, except for those currently assigned to Departments 3, 9, 20 or 21 shall be reassigned to Department 3 for distribution to the Homicide Team.

In the interest of fiscal and environmental conservation the list of cases affected by the upcoming reassignment is being made available to you electronically via the link labeled 2017 Homicide Team Case Reassignments posted under Court News at Please visit the link to determine whether your case will be affected.

Current trial dates will be maintained unless rescheduled by the receiving department.  Please review the posted administrative order and the Odyssey electronic case management system for further specifics on the aforementioned transfers and to confirm upcoming hearing dates.  In the event you are eligible pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 48.1, you may exercise a peremptory challenge as a result of your case having been reassigned.

The Court greatly appreciates your participation in accommodating this reassignment.  Please do not hesitate to contact Assistant Court Administrator Timothy Andrews at 702-671-3312 should you have any questions.


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A big class of new graduates from the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy went through a lot to become P.O.S.T. certified to serve as category I and III peace officers. They were tased, tackled, tested, pepper-sprayed, boxed, banged-up, chased, raced and roughed-up to ensure had the right stuff to serve in law enforcement. Friends and family packed into a theater at the Orleans to see the class of 2017-01, including three District Court marshals, graduate from the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy. Juan Almaraz, Gregory Stamey and Michael Kyle are the trio that graduated under the uniform of the the District Court marshals.

District Court is looking to recruit others who are interested in serving as a court 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

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