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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Judge Valerie Adair

Former jurors, who have recently served in the Nevada federal or state court, are sought for a panel on Sept. 5, from noon to 1:30 p.m., at the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse, Jury Assembly Room, to give input on how to improve the jury system. The participants will be provided lunch compliments of the New York University’s Civil Jury Project and the Clark County Bar Association.

Legal experts note there is a historic decline in the number of civil jury trials, both at the state and federal level. The luncheon is a forum to learn from the former jurors how jury duty can be improved based upon their first hand observations. The former jurors, along with judges, will have the opportunity to share experiences and insight gained, and to provide input on proposals to make jury trials more efficient. Steve Susman the Executive Director of the Civil Jury Project at NYU School of Law will present information on national trends uncovered by The Civil Jury Project. Attorneys are invited to observe the session for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit through the Clark County Bar Association.

The Civil Jury Project is the only academic center in the country dedicated exclusively to studying civil jury trials. Their goal is to find out why jury trials are vanishing, whether this is a bad thing, and, if so, what can be done to avoid their extinction. The juror luncheon is part of the national study that includes more than 260 state and federal judges from around the country, legal professionals and academics.

Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Timothy Williams, who has been involved in The Civil Jury Project, called juries “the great regulator.” “Juries are important for one basic reason, under our United States Constitution there are guarantees of jury trials in both civil and criminal matters. As a result, the process cannot function unless our citizens are willing to participate,” said Judge Williams. “There is a two-prong reason for them to participate: number one, it’s a duty to do so as citizens of this country; and, it’s a great service provided to the community.”

Judge Williams has been instrumental in conducting this jury input project and said, “Participation of jurors that have served is vital. I’m hoping they can share their stories and experiences and give the courts, lawyers and justice system insight on how we can improve their service and their experience when they serve on a jury.” He acknowledged that when citizens receive a summons they generally don’t want to serve; but, once they serve, they realize that their vote and their service to the community really matter.

Last year, former Eighth Judicial District Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez appointed a Jury Services Committee chaired by Judge Williams and Judge Valerie Adair, and comprised of members of the bar, legislators, the community and the jury commissioner. The committee has made progress in their examination of the jury process from summons through discharge and in their exploration of the viability of further operational and technological improvements that could enhance jury service processes.

Former jurors who have recently served in the Nevada federal or state court and would like to participate in the panel can RSVP to kv20@nyu.edu or (212) 729-2016 to attend. Lunch will be provided. Transportation and parking expenses will be reimbursed.

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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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District Court Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued an administrative order on Feb. 2 that established a Jury Services Committee to examine the jury process from summons through discharge. Judge Valerie Adair and Judge Timothy Williams will chair the committee. They, along with the committee, will look to ensure the court is compliant with all statutory and rule amendments that came out of the 2002 Nevada Supreme Court Jury Improvement Committee. The newly established District Court Jury Services Committee will also explore the viability of further operational and technological improvements that could enhance the process.

Several years ago, past Chief Judge Jennifer Togliatti initiated a push to improve jury services in the Nevada Eighth Judicial District. Improvements were made including the ability for summoned jurors to access jury qualification questionnaires in a variety of ways: kiosks, improved Wi-Fi for personal electronic devices, and court-provided tablets. The Jury Services webpage (http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/ejdc/juror-information/index.html#Frequently Asked Questions) was upgraded to help jurors navigate through the reporting process by, among other things, offering jury qualification questionnaires online to improve pre-qualification rates. The capability for potential jurors to complete their qualification questionnaires and upload/attach documentation right onto their record was implemented, along with the ability to update their addresses and find information on what to expect. Frequently asked questions, directions to courthouse/parking, and an orientation video were also made available online. The capability for potential jurors to select their preferred method of contact including: email, text, phone, or mail, was also added to the jury page on the court website. An electronic system to perform reminder calls to jurors10 days in advance and the night prior to reporting was implemented.

Other upgrades include touch–screen kiosks for expedited check-in. Kiosks offer the capability to complete qualification questionnaires in the Jury Services room and the ability to print attendance letters and checks. Jurors are no longer paid with a voucher system. Instead, checks are now issued immediately upon completion of service and are available through various ways; checks can be picked-up by the jurors upon notification by departments, or the departments can collect the checks and hand them out in the courtroom. Jurors can also request a link to an exit survey to be e-mailed to them for online completion through the eJuror web-page. The surveys are intended to gather better feedback and input on opportunities for improvement.

The American justice system hinges on the jury system. The Constitution guarantees: “the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.

Link to admin order http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/clerk/rules/AO%2017-02.pdf

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