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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Bryce Duckworth

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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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Presiding Family Division Judge Bryce Duckworth, Governor Steve Sisolak, Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell

The population of Clark County is on the rise and is projected to surpass 2.4 million in 2021. That’s a 25 percent increase since 2011.  Nevada Assembly Bill 43 increases the number of district judges in certain judicial districts, including the Eighth Judicial District that serves Clark County. In 2021, the Eighth District will get six new Family Division judges.

“This is a great example of all branches of government coming together to solve issues,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell who testified at the Legislature on behalf of the bill. “I extend my deepest gratitude to  Governor Steve Sisolak, the Nevada Legislature, the Clark County Commission and County Manager for their tireless efforts to improve our community through access to justice for Clark County children and families.”

Family Civil Domestic filings increased from 49,294 in 2011 to 63,650 in 2018, a 29 percent  increase. Civil commitment filings are up an astounding 86 percent. The court initially sought 15 judges to keep pace with growth and change. The new judges will help address the growing population, the increase in filings and the need to fill gaps created when juvenile dependency and guardianship cases were added to judicial dockets.

At the Legislature, a number of officials and others made comments in support of the bill, no one spoke up to oppose it. “Adding these new judges will help to meet the priority to ensure that cases that impact the most vulnerable in the community, children in the child welfare system and families, move through the system as quickly as possible,” said presiding Family Division Judge Bryce Duckworth.

 

 

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Six Eighth Judicial District Court employees were honored by the bench for going above and beyond in their work to keep things running effectively and efficiently at the court. Those honored include Tatyana Ristic who was named District Court Judicial Employee of the Year; Mark Vobis, named Deputy Marshal of the Year; Brian Hernandez, named District Court Judicial Marshal of the Year; Ronald Ramsey, named Judicial Marshal of the Year; Erica Page, named District Court Administrative Employee of the Year and Karen Christensen, named Clerk of the Court Employee of the Year. The ceremony was held at an all-judges meeting on June 13.

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