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Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Judge Linda Bell

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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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The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court will celebrate a new class of specialty court graduates on May 10 at 3 p.m. in the jury services room of the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. The graduates will include two who are part of a specialty court prison re-entry program.

The District Court was recently awarded a grant of nearly $350,000 from the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) Bureau of Behavioral Health Wellness and Prevention Opioid State Targeted Response (STR). The grant is being used for a comprehensive specialty court prevention plan with medically assisted treatment (MAT) for opiate abuse among those who are re-entering the community after incarceration.

An estimated 65 percent of individuals in U.S. prisons and jails have a substance abuse disorder. Opioids rank high as their drug of choice. Medically assisted treatment paired with counseling treatment, has proven to be an effective way to address addiction, put a dent in the opioid epidemic and stem the related criminal activity. Effective treatment provides better results at a lower cost than repeated incarceration.

Specialty court coordinators, the parole re-entry unit, and prison/jail professionals work together to identify program participants who go through an intensive six-month program that begins with a three-month stabilization period. Participants are placed in coordinated care housing and receive inpatient and/or intensive outpatient services, case management, medically assisted treatment, discharge planning and assistance with coordination of long-term housing, permanent housing, and assistance with obtaining food stamps, medical care, Medicaid and other programs such as Social Security. They are also provided case management around employment assistance including referrals, and training. The goal is to increase employment among the participants to improve the likelihood of success, cut substance abuse and decrease recidivism.

“This Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health funding enables the court, with the help of the Nevada Department of Corrections, to effectively tackle the epidemic of opioid abuse that is thwarting potential rehabilitation for those who are released from incarceration with a substance abuse issue,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell, who presides over the MAT specialty court. “We cannot incarcerate our way out of the opioid crisis. Creative solutions such as this must be used to stem the tide of this epidemic.”

“The infusion of federal funding to Nevada continues to allow us to improve access to treatment and recovery support services for people with significant barriers to care.  We know that individuals within the criminal justice system have a greater risk of overdose death than other people.  Through this collaboration with the Eighth Judicial District, we hope we can reduce that risk and support people to move to full recovery from opioid addiction.  Medication Assisted Treatment is the gold standard for care and access within court systems is critical in addressing the opioid crisis,” said Dr. Stephanie Woodard, DHHS Senior Advisor on Behavioral Health, from the Division of Public and Behavioral Health.

Specialty courts, solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, specialty court coordinators, 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.  Thirteen participants are in the MAT program that is expected to eventually have 30 participants. Court sessions began in December 2018 and are held every other Friday at 9:30 a.m.

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DC 7 Photo

The Hon. Linda Marie Bell, Hon. Stewart L. Bell (Ret.) and Constance Akridge, Esq. are the recipients of the Clark County Law Foundation 2019 Liberty Bell Award. The recipients will be honored on Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m., at the Historic Fifth Street School Auditorium, 401 S. 4th St.

The annual award recognizes individuals in the community who uphold the rule of law, contribute to good government within the community, stimulate a sense of civic responsibility, and encourage respect for the law in the courts.

Judge Linda Bell serves as the chief judge for the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court. Since taking the bench in January of 2009, Judge Bell handled both civil and criminal cases. She spent two and a half years managing all of the criminal division specialty courts and continues to preside over the veterans’ treatment court. Judge Bell has been a driving force in the proliferation of specialty courts, which have had a significant positive impact in the community.

Judge Bell also ran the grand jury for six years; served on the court’s legislative committee every legislative session since 2009, where she worked on successful efforts to pass legislation related to the grand jury, the OPEN program, funding for specialty courts and outpatient civil commitment.

In addition to serving on numerous legal associations, boards and educational committees for various organizations, she has taught both criminal law and criminal procedure at UNLV. She served as the president of the Howard D. McKibben Chapter of the Nevada Inn of Court from May 2012 to May 2014. Judge Bell volunteered for the Trial by Peers youth legal educational program, and was named their Judge of the Year in 2011.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Judge Linda Bell follows in the footsteps of her father Judge Stewart Bell (Ret.), who will also be awarded a Liberty Bell. He was elected to the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County, Department 7 in November 2002 and was sworn in as a district court judge in January 2003. Before becoming a judge, he served as Clark County District Attorney from 1995 to 2002. As a practicing attorney and jurist he has presided over hundreds of jury trials and is well regarded by counsel for his sharp analytical skills, knowledge of the law, and fair-mindedness.

Constance Akridge, Esq., a partner with Holland and Hart was also selected for a 2019 Liberty Bell.

The Clark County Law Foundation mission is to empower Nevada, especially our youth, through service to the community and education about the legal system and its history.

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RJCHoizCompress

Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave.

A delegation from Mexico including investigators, prosecutors and forensic experts will visit the Eighth Judicial District Court in the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave. on March 14 from 9 a.m. until noon to observe an oral, adversarial system of justice in action. The delegation comes from state attorney general offices throughout Mexico including: Querétaro, Nuevo León, Durango and Jalisco. They are here for the week in coordination with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office and the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG).

Mexico has been transitioning to an oral, adversarial system of justice for a few years. They are here to learn best practices as they make the transition.

District Court frequently serves as host to delegations from around the world looking to learn best practices and get ideas for new technology. “We welcome the delegation of justice professionals from Mexico to our court,” said Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “It is a real tribute to our legal professionals who are asked time and again to showcase their professional expertise and advancements with delegations from around the globe.”

 

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At every specialty court graduation, at least one person tells those gathered that the program saved their life. At the November graduation a drug court graduate said just that. They weren’t exaggerating. Those that end up in specialty courts get there after heading down a very dangerous path. Most participants have had multiple felony arrests, lost their family, friends, jobs and stability. The death toll from the opioid crisis is well publicized and touches families from every walk of life.

Those arrested generally end up revolving through overcrowded prisons. Specialty courts offer an alternative. Specialty courts work to address substance abuse and the related crimes 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 Nevada Eighth Judicial District specialty courts include veterans’ court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, family treatment drug court, autism court and a new gambling treatment court. Every graduation their success can be seen in the eyes of the family and friends who come to support their loved one back from the abyss.

A graduate from veterans’ court told the graduates, “The greatest gift you can give your family is your recovery.”

Six veterans were included in the graduates. A color guard opened the ceremony and the graduates each received a Quilt of Valor from the Las Vegas chapter of the organization. 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 spread across the nation and 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. Cheyenne 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.

Specialty court graduates get good advice from judge

Specialty court grads experience rebirth

Drug court saved my life

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Students at Mt. View Elementary School on East Kell Lane got an early Thanksgiving treat when District Court judges, staff and other volunteers dished up turkey, the fixings and pie at an early Thanksgiving dinner for students and their families. The District court bench pitched in to help sponsor the event, along with local businesses.  Judge Kephart has made it an annual event to host an early Thanksgiving dinner for  for a school with families who could use a boost.

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The Nevada Eighth Judicial District court launched the first gambling treatment diversion court (GTDC) in Nevada. Judge Cheryl Moss was appointed by Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell to preside over the gambling diversion court. The GTDC will use the best practices already in place in Clark County’s other specialty courts including: veterans court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, family treatment drug court,  juvenile drug court and autism court.

Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 458A was amended in 2009 to permit a defendant to enter a gambling diversion treatment program if a criminal judge deems they are eligible in lieu of incarceration. “Nevada is a world leader in gaming, so it makes perfect sense that our state lead the way when it comes to gambling treatment diversion,” said Judge Bell. “Our specialty courts have had great success rehabilitating specialty court participants and getting them onto a productive path. I believe the time is appropriate to use the proven tools of our specialty courts for a gambling treatment diversion court.”

The gambling treatment diversion court is the first of its kind in the state and the second in the nation. The first gambling court in the nation was established in Amherst, New York by now retired Judge Mark Farrell. Judge Moss will be the first judge to preside over the Nevada gambling treatment diversion court. “I’m looking forward to taking the proven strategies of our specialty courts and applying them to those who are in the justice system as a result of their gambling addiction,” said Judge Moss. “The gambling treatment court is a natural for this community and it is truly needed.” Judge Moss has an extensive background in problem gambling having lectured nationally and locally on issues related to problem gambling and the courts. She also authored a Law Review article on gambling diversion court programs across the U.S.

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court specialty courts are an effective way to address root-causes that lead to recidivism. 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.

 

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