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Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: district court

Is Santa Claus living in Las Vegas?  Will there be a miracle at Third and Carson Streets? The Howard D. McKibben Inns of Court, in conjunction with the Eighth Judicial District Court, will be conducting a hearing to test the competency of a man who claims he is Santa Claus. It’s well known that anybody who’s anybody comes to Las Vegas; why not the jolliest elf? This self-proclaimed Las Vegas Santa is locally known as Jon Hoolihan. His claims will be put to the test to see if they hold up in court on December 10, at 5:15 p.m. at the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. courtroom 15D. The competency case is being put on by the Inns of Court and is intended to be a fun way to convey some important information about the issues surrounding competency cases. The event will start with refreshments and a 20-minute educational session on issue of mental competency. A 40-minute competency hearing will commence at 5:45 p.m. “Mental competency is a serious issue in our community. Looking at it from this unique perspective enables us consider challenging issues from new angles that will help us to better address the question,” said Judge Susan Johnson who worked on putting the hearing together. The Inns of Court is a professional legal organization with the goal to communicate a culture of excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and skills to the legal community and generally. The event will also be a time for collecting donations for The Shade Tree – a shelter located in ClarkCounty that provides critical services to the children, mothers, and pets affected by domestic violence. 


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Judge Timothy Williams took lawyers to school to give Canyon Spring High School students an education on a real short trial. The judge used a civil short trial as a teaching tool for students in the high school law magnet program. “A short trial provides the perfect educational experience for students, because it takes all the elements of a complex trial and distills it down to one day,” said Judge Williams. “The opportunity to show students the legal process and give them first-hand experience is a wonderful teaching tool for the District Court and the Clark County School District.”

Short trials are used to resolve civil cases in one day. In a short trial, each party is limited to three hours to present their case and the jury is composed of four or six members rather than eight. Short trials have proven to be a cost effective way to resolve many civil cases that may be less complicated or lower in dollar value than others.

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Truancy Diversion Program To Kickoff September 16 For New School Year To Keep Students In School And On Track for Success

The Family Court Truancy Diversion Project (TDP) is holding their new school year kickoff on September 16 at 12:15 p.m. at Family Court, 601 N. Pecos in Courtroom 9. The program is offering great opportunity for attorneys and law clerks to make a difference in the community by serving as judges for the Truancy Court Diversion Project (TDP). This early intervention program is aimed at keeping truant students in school and on the path to success.

Truant youth are more likely to drop out of school. In Clark County around 60,000 children are truant during the school year. Nevada’s dropout rate is reported to be the highest in the nation. Everyday in Family Court, judges see first-hand the fallout from truancy and its negative consequences. Teen pregnancy, high unemployment and the likelihood of falling into the criminal justice system are all linked to truancy and school dropout.

The goal of the TDP is to reduce the number of students entering the formal juvenile justice system as a result of skipping school. Truancy is often a symptom of greater need within the family. The truancy program strategy includes identifying and addressing a variety of family issues including substance abuse or lack of basic necessities such as food, clothing, and housing. The program also promotes improvement in academic achievement and attempts to reduce student behavioral problems.

“The Truancy Diversion Program doesn’t just benefit these students but it benefits our community as a whole. Higher graduation rates lead to a stronger more employable community,” said District Court Judge Jennifer Elliott. “Volunteering to serve as a judge in the Truancy Court Diversion Project is worthwhile work. Our young students gain so much from the guidance provided by the volunteers in this program.”

The TDP judges wear robes and preside during the diversion program on school property. Sessions usually begin at about 7:30 a.m. once a week for two to three hours. The judge meets with the student, family and advocates to address issues, monitor progress, make recommendations and reward positive behavior.

Attorneys or law clerks interested in volunteering should contact Debbie Rose at 455-1755 or e-mail For more information about the Truancy Court Diversion Project visit for more information about the courts please visit our website at

The Truancy Diversion Program demonstrates how the Eighth Judicial District Court is working to strengthen the community. District Court continuously works to develop innovative ideas, improve efficiencies, address issues and improve access to justice. For more information about the courts, please visit our website at

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The recent Civil Bench-Bar Meeting had great attendance. Several interesting discussions shed light on new Supreme Court Decisions, proposed rule changes and courtroom decorum. A subject that generated a lot of discussion was judges’ pet peeves. The top 10 are listed below.


Judges’ Pet Peeves


  1. Impolite/uncivil attorneys (including those who interrupt).
  2. Attorneys’ lack of preparation.
  3. Putting exhibit on Elmo (monitor) and showing to jury without prior motion to admit and/or publish.
  4. Asking prospective jurors voir dire questions based upon hypothetical, which seeks to have them pre-commit to verdict in violation of EDCR 7.70(c).
  5. Cutting side deals for extensions of time…and forgetting to tell the Judge.
  6. Filing Oppositions/Replies at the last minute and expecting the Judge to read them.
  7. Requesting to appear at hearing by telephone, and then providing the Court a non-direct telephone number to attorney.  That is, the telephone number is directed to the attorney’s receptionist, who forwards the judge’s call to the attorney’s secretary, who forwards the call to the attorney or worse—his voice mail or says he’s not available.  (not all departments use CourtCall)
  8. Failure to timely provide courtesy copies with tabs for exhibits.
  9. Failure to comply with NRCP 56(c) (statement of uncontested material facts with supporting citations to evidence in the record) and the Choy case, 265 P.3d 698 (affidavit required for 56(f) continuance.
  10. Providing stacks of depositions that are not excerpted to make the relevant parts easy to locate.


Other recommendations that came out of the discussion include a suggestion that attorney read trial orders to cut down on question in the courtroom.  And, when sending and order, on the last page include a description of what it is and the case number. A lot was covered and a tasty lunch was sponsored by the judges.  The next civil Bench-Bar meeting will be Aug. 13 at 12:05 p.m. in courtroom 15D.

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District Court Judge Valorie J. Vega today announced she will not file to seek re-election next year to Department 2. She will finish out her current term, which expires in January 2015. Judge Vega will leave the seat open for the voters to decide her successor.

“After careful and thorough consideration, I determined that it was time to take on new personal and professional challenges,” said Judge Vega. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my 25-year tenure as a jurist, a position that allowed me to achieve my goal to serve the public. I am most appreciative of the voters’ support and I wish to thank my colleagues and my staff for their dedication, professionalism and assistance during my career in public service. During my time on the bench, I have seen the court make great strides to ensure that justice is served in our community and I am honored and proud to be part of that. As I take this step, I look forward to meeting new challenges and opportunities.”

Judge Vega was appointed to Department 2 of the Eighth Judicial District Court in March of 1999, by then Governor Kenny Guinn. Since that appointment, she has presided over 293 trials and been retained and re-elected by the voters in the 2000, 2002 and 2008 elections. Judge Vega has served the community for more that 32 years, including prior posts as a Las Vegas Municipal Court judge, Clark County Deputy District Attorney, a judicial law clerk and as the supervisor of court interpreters. Judge Vega has also served in many community organizations and has received numerous awards and honors for her work.

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The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court In Las Vegas Receives Prestigious Star Award For High Performance
Court Recognized For Creativity, Innovation, High Performance, Positive Contributions To The Judiciary And Sound Leadership

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court in Las Vegas received the prestigious Star Award for high performance from the executive board of the Nevada Association of Court Executives (NACE). The criteria for selection include: creativity, innovation, high performance, positive contributions to the judiciary and sound leadership.

The court’s leadership was praised by NACE citing: “strong and sound judicial leadership” “serving as an exemplary model of the separate, co-equal and competent judicial branch of government by demonstrating both independence and public accountability.” The court was also commended for innovation with the specialty courts that result in reduced criminal recidivism and improved quality of life and public health and safety.

The District Court’s fiscal responsibility was praised for “achieving five consecutive years within target budgets in unusually austere economic times.”

Important technological innovations were acclaimed in the award including: “mandatory electronic filing/paperless court, state-of-the–art case management and social media-based applications, all of which increase access to justice, expedition of timeliness, public trust and confidence.” In January, District Court released Courtfinder, a free smart-phone app that puts the daily dockets in the palm of users’ hands. It is the first smart-phone app of its kind in the nation.

“On behalf of the judges at the Eighth Judicial District Court, I am truly honored to accept this very prestigious award,” said District Court Chief Judge Jennifer P. Togliatti. “This award is a credit to the outstanding work that our judges do everyday, and to their unwavering commitment to ensure that justice is served in a timely and impartial manner. It is also a credit to the hard work and dedication of all of our court employees.”

The adaptation of the justice center, parking, equipment configuration for construction of new courtrooms and judicial department facilities was another significant accomplishment cited in the award. After years of careful strategic planning, streamlining processes, and maximizing space and efficiency, eight new courtrooms officially opened in January and have done much to improve access. To make way for the new courtrooms, more than 30 million pages of legal documents were scanned and converted to electronic files. The courtrooms and related offices now occupy space that was formerly used to store files.

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