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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Las Vegas courts

Judge Jennifer Elliot has been presiding over the dependency mothers’ drug court since 2008. It is a program that has helped to get many mothers away from the clutches of addiction and into the arms of their children. This week, three more moms graduated from the program.  That’s a handful of kids who won’t have to be in foster care; who won’t have to wonder where mom is; and who will have someone who loves them deeply caring for them.

In front of others going through the program, Judge Elliot asked each of the graduates how they felt upon graduation. She said, “Nobody knows what the journey is going to look like when they start out, and I want others to hear how to be successful at it.” The moms graduating lit up when given the opportunity to share how they felt. One mom said, “I’m very, very happy where I am and how far I’ve come.  It’s amazing being able to be with my son, sober; to watch him grow and remember that.” Judge Elliot told each of the graduates that she was very proud of them. She also offered a word of advice to a father with one of the graduating moms, who has his own struggles. She said, “Setback doesn’t mean failure, it just means you just have to keep on keeping on.”

Judge Elliot is turning over the administration of the dependency mothers’ drug court to Judge Frank Sullivan who handles abuse and neglect cases. She told those in court that Judge Sullivan would ensure that the program would continue to be successful. Judge Sullivan responded, “No one can replace Judge Elliot.” Program participants gave Judge Elliot a giant farewell card. The judge who launched the specialty court aimed at helping moms with addiction won’t be managing the day-to-day of the program, but the legacy of what she accomplished since 2008 will carry on for generations.

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Have you worked with Mary Bacon? Maybe you have worked with someone who worked with Mary Bacon. Mary is an attorney with Spencer Fane, LLP. She is a member of the Women’s Leadership Council through United Way and was a member of Leadership Las Vegas’ Class of 2016. Mary is also the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada June pro bono volunteer of the month. At the July 19 Civil Judges Meeting, Mary Bacon was recognized by the judges of the Eighth Judicial District Court for her volunteer work providing pro bono legal services to low income individuals in need.

Those who have worked with Mary probably know she is a special person. Since she began volunteering with Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada in 2014, she has accepted eight new pro bono cases in a range of areas, including child abuse and neglect, civil/consumer, domestic violence and divorce. As a regular volunteer with the Landlord/Tenant Ask-A-Lawyer program, she provides free consultations to pro se litigants in need of legal advice.

If you’re an attorney and you haven’t worked with Mary, you can get within six degrees of separation by volunteering to be a pro bono attorney yourself. Mary and the other lawyers who volunteer their time have shared that they find pro bono work to be very rewarding.

The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada informed the judges: “Mary represented a domestic violence victim who suffers from a seizure disorder and who needed assistance with a divorce and support matter. The husband was represented by counsel, and Mary’s client felt bullied throughout the negotiation process when she was unrepresented. Mary accepted this case one week before the scheduled trial. The client suffered verbal abuse throughout her marriage and the parties split due to the ex-husband’s infidelity. Mary worked on the client’s case non-stop for one week, and after several failed settlement offers, Mary showed up ready to try the case. Right before the trial was supposed to start, the parties engaged in a judicially orchestrated settlement. The client received almost three times the amount she had previously considered settling for when unrepresented. After the settlement, the client hugged Mary, and told her that she is now able to start a new life with the settlement she received, and no longer felt dependent upon an abusive ex-husband.”

The Legal Aid Center reports that Mary said, “This case touched my heart because I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by strong women who are always happy to assist me and point me it the right direction, and I was so happy to be able to help another woman in such a meaningful way on International Women’s Day.”

Attorneys who would like to make a difference in the life of someone in need by doing pro bono work, can visit http://www.lacsnprobono.org to get started.

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Truancy Diversion Program (TDP) volunteers who commit to a school-year of weekly truancy diversion court sessions on a Clark County School District (CCSD) campus will be recognized on Friday, June 9 at 1 p.m. to be held at the Ballroom at Main Street Station 200 N. Main Street. Each of the volunteers will be given an award and the opportunity to share their experiences of helping students attain and education.

The TDP was established by Judge Gerald Hardcastle in 2002. Since 2007, the program has been overseen by District Court Judge Jennifer Elliott in collaboration with the CCSD. “The volunteer Truancy Diversion Judges are playing an important role in addressing the significant issue of truancy in Clark County. They listen to the kids, hear their issues, encourage and motivate them. The volunteers help students to overcome challenges and work to succeed,” said Judge Elliott. “The attorneys and other professionals who volunteer as judges find it very rewarding to help these students get on track to graduate. I invite attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers to be part of the solution to the significant problem of truancy in our schools.”

Those without a high school diploma face higher prospects of unemployment and the associated negative consequences. This collaborative effort between the CCSD has been structured to prevent and reduce youth crime, re-engage students in learning, and ultimately, reduce potential costs to our welfare and justice systems. It is a non-punitive, incentive-based approach to at-risk school students with truancy problems. A team (judge, family advocate, school personnel) works with the students and their families.

“The Truancy Diversion volunteers are making a difference by conveying the importance of school and motivating the students to graduate,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin. “The challenges the TDP volunteers are addressing with the students now, improve the students’ odds for success down the line.”

Judges, attorneys, mental health professionals and law enforcement officers volunteer approximately three hours each week to and hold truancy court sessions at schools, where they meet individually with students and their parents. They review the students’ attendance, school work, and progress to ensure that students have the resources they need to be successful. The TDP judges promote and support academic achievement using a team effort and an individual student success plan. Since 2007, the TDP has expanded from six to 80 schools including elementary, middle schools and high schools. The goal of the Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division is to continue to expand until all Clark County schools have a TDP program.

If you are a licensed attorney, mental health professional or law enforcement officer and are interested in volunteering as a TDP judge for this Specialty Court program please call 702-455-1755. The Family Court youth programs are a great example of how the Eighth Judicial District Court is using alternative, efficient methods to address crime and ensure justice. District Court continuously works to develop innovative ideas, improve efficiency, address issues and improve access to justice.

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OathtightThree new District Court judges will pronounce their judicial oath to uphold justice in our community on June 2 at 2:30 p.m., at an investiture ceremony at the Clark County Government Center Commission Chambers, 500 Grand Central Pkwy. In front of family, friends and fellow jurists, District Court Judge Tierra Jones, District Court Judge Mark Bailus, and District Court Judge David M. Jones will receive their judicial robes and swear an oath to uphold the law.

“Each of these new jurists have excelled professionally. I believe that their depth of experience will serve them well as they preside over the complex and challenging cases of the Eighth Judicial District Court,” said Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez.

  • Judge Tierra Jones is serving in District Court Dept. 10 in Regional Justice Center courtroom 14B with a civil/criminal docket.
  • Judge Mark Bailus will serve in District Court Dept. 18 in the Phoenix Bldg.11th floor courtroom with a civil docket.
  • Judge David Jones is serving in District Court Dept. 29 in Regional Justice Center courtroom 3B with a civil docket.

Judge Tierra Jones leaves a post as a deputy district attorney for Clark County to take the bench. She also served as a district attorney in Nye County and public defender in Clark County. Judge Jones is from  Hawthorne, Nevada. She attended University of Nevada, Reno and received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law.

Judge Mark Bailus takes the bench after working in private practice with a focus on complex civil and criminal litigation and appeals at the law firm of Bailus Cook & Kelesis, Ltd.  Judge Bailus’ professional experience also includes a partnership in the law firm of Cherry Bailus & Kelesis, serving as general counsel for Nevada Beverage Company and as an attorney with the Clark County Special Public Defender’s Office.  Further, he was on the Ombudsperson Panel to represent the deceased family and public at the Police Fatality Public Fact-Finding Review hearings. Judge Bailus is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and received his Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law.

Judge David Jones is a Las Vegas native and Valley High School graduate. He attended Arizona State University. After graduation, Judge Jones taught Government, World and U.S. History at Rancho High School. After several years as a teacher, Judge Jones attended University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, graduating with honors. Judge Jones’ professional experience includes a long-term partnership at Rawlings, Olson, Cannon, et al., and a partnership at the law firm of Lewis Brisbois. He was also the managing attorney for the Plaintiff based firm of David Allen & Associates. His work includes presiding over short-trials, mediation and arbitration, and the Truancy Diversion Program.

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A recent book drive at the Regional Justice Center and at Family Court brought in boxes of books to be given to students, teachers and for use at an upcoming book fair. Thanks to all those who lugged in bags and boxes to contribute books. The Clark County School District sent a van to collect the recycled reading material. They expressed appreciation for the books and promised that they will go to good use in the hands of kids who really need them, in teacher gift baskets, or to stock book fair tables.

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Recovery is a lifelong journey. Two recent District Court veterans’ court graduates will have something special to remind them to stay solid in their recovery. At a recent graduation ceremony, the vets were wrapped in a Quilt of Valor by presiding veterans’ court Judge Adrianna Escobar and the Nevada state coordinator for the Quilt of Valor Foundation, Victoria Colburn Hall. The beautiful, patriotic themed quilt was sewn by volunteers to show honor and give comfort to veterans who have served our country.

Victoria Hall is a Blue Star mom; her son spent 24 year in the Marine Corp assault unit. She thanked the vets for their service and gave a brief overview of the foundation. 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 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. Cheyanne 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.

Judge Escobar looks to veterans’ court success stories as inspiration for others going through the program. Since Sept. 2012, the veterans’ treatment court has helped veterans who are facing criminal charges as a result of substance abuse. Veterans’ court is one of several Eighth Judicial District specialty courts that save millions of tax dollars by averting repeated incarcerations due to substance abuse offenses and related crimes. 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. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports: “nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent more than other sentencing options.”

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District Court Judge Jennifer Togliatti gave four third grade classes from the Las Vegas Day School a great lesson on justice through mock trials. The students played the parts of judges, lawyers, victims, witnesses, jurors and defendants. The mock trials: Big Bad Wolf vs. Curly Pig, and Three Bears vs. Goldilocks were scripted to offer lessons how cases move through court. The  students not only had fun with the mock trials, but they took away some valuable life-lessons on how the justice system works. Judge Togliatti was particularly impressed by the junior jurors, who payed close attention, took notes and deliberated in an organized and reasonable manner.

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