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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Judge Doug Herndon

On July 1, the new fiscal year begins. The new year brings a new chief judge and presiding judges at District Court.  Judge Linda Marie Bell was elected to replace outgoing Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez.  The chief judge maintains responsibility for managing the administration of the court. Judge Bell will continue to hear specialty court cases during her tenure in the chief judge post. Judge Gonzalez will return to hearing civil, business and mental health court cases.

Judge Michael Villani will take over as the criminal presiding judge from Judge Doug Herndon. Judge Jerry Wiese will take on the post as the presiding civil court judge from Judge Susan Johnson.  Presiding judges manage the business of their respective division.

On her last day as chief, Judge Gonzalez sent out a thank you to court employees. “I wanted to express my gratitude to each of you to your hard work in making our Court more accessible to the community. We have worked as a team to improve our time to disposition and access to all of our community. The work we have done as a group is a testament to each of you. The courtesy and respect shown to those who appear in our court system is something of which I am very proud. Thanks again to all for your contributions to this success,” said Judge Gonzalez. “The court administration team worked tirelessly in support of our strategic goals. Those of you who work behind the scenes in administration and the clerk’s office keep the wheels of the organization moving, without even being seen. Although we do not see you on a daily basis, know that your work is appreciated.”

Judge Gonzalez closed her email with, “It has been my honor to serve as your Chief Judge. I wish Judge Bell and her leadership the best of luck in continuing to make improvements on access to justice and time to disposition.”

During her term as chief, Judge Gonzalez established a jury services committee and put into action a plan to add active voter registration names to the Court’s Jury Master List. Judge Gonzalez implemented improvements to how minor guardianship and involuntary commitments are handled. She spearheaded logical enhancements to business practices to maximize space and proximity to enhance interface at the court with a business pod and a guardianship/probate pod. Management for homicide cases was also centralized under her leadership to improve efficiency in the management and timely disposition of such cases.

“I want to extend sincere appreciation to Judge Gonzalez for her hard work and significant accomplishments as the chief judge,” said Judge Bell. “Not only did she maintain a heavy and complex caseload, she accomplished much for the court during her tenure as chief judge.”

“I also want to thank Judge Herndon and Judge Susan Johnson for their work in the role of presiding judge. Both the Civil and Criminal divisions have made impressive progress under their leadership,” said Judge Bell.

July 1 will also usher in docket changes, and courtroom/chamber moves. A summary of those changes can be found in this related story: Change is coming to District Court https://wp.me/p1tnuA-1tQ

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Four fourth grade classes from Liliam Lujan Hickey Elementary School experienced justice in action at the Eighth Judicial District Court in early April. They  also got a view on where life-choices lead when they sat in on actual criminal calendars and saw judges, court employees and attorneys perform their jobs. They watched defendants in various stages of their cases, including sentencing. After viewing the calendar, students asked judges questions about  what they saw, and how and why it works that way. The Q&A session was followed by a mock trial of Harry Potter, who was charged with misappropriation of magic. The school visits are part of a new joint program between nonprofit agency Project Real, the District Court and schools.

District Court Judge Doug Herndon envisioned this mock trial program. He wrote the script to provide a fun and interesting method for young students to learn about the justice system. The activities promote the importance of education, highlight potential legal careers and demonstrate the outcome of bad choices. “This program is a good way for young students to see the legal profession in action. When they watch actual court proceedings, they see the unfortunate consequences of criminal activity,” said Judge Herndon. “The mock trials give the students a way to relate to and understand the justice system, and see career roles that they may want to consider in the future.”

Project REAL, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was founded in 2005 by Sam Lionel and Irwin Molasky to meet the challenge of teaching K-12th grade Nevada students the importance of the law. They have taught over 160,000 Nevada students about the importance of the law with the goal of preparing them to be informed, law-abiding and participating citizens through their programs Your Day in Court, Play By the Rules, REAL Drama, and Independence & You. For more information from Project REAL, please contact Program Director Mike Kamer at mkamer@projectrealnv.org, call 702.703.6529, or visit http://projectrealnv.org.

The mock trial program is intended to contrast the view of careers in the justice system against the choice to get involved in criminal activity. This collaboration between the courts, Project Real and Hickey Elementary School involved a lot of work on the part of the judges and their departments in District Court, Project Real, and the teachers. Thanks to the many people who helped to make it come together so that the students could benefit from a real-world perspective.

 

 

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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 http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/res/rules-and-orders/AO%2017-05.pdf 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 http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/general/news 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.

http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/res/news/reassignment-homicide-2017.pdf

 

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