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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: 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 monthly celebration to mark graduations from intensive specialty court treatment programs had 51 participants cross the finish line to start their lifelong process to be substance-abuse free. The graduations spread a positive ripple-effect through the people in their families and the community. Their families now have a loved one who is contributing instead of disrupting their lives. The community as whole will also benefit from this group of people committed to a better life. At an estimated jail cost of $135 per-day per-inmate, 51 successful graduates will save more than $2.5 million a year in incarceration costs alone. The social benefits are immeasurable from those who want to contribute to the community instead of disrupt. The graduating class includes participants from veterans’ court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court and felony DUI court.

Six veterans were part of the large August graduating class. They were wrapped in beautiful quilts specially made by the Quilts of Valor non-profit organization to give them comfort and remind them that their service is appreciated.

Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement, court program coordinators 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.”

The Eighth Judicial District Specialty Courts were recently awarded a grant of $1million from the Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment Agency (SAPTA) to provide sober living and residential treatment placements for individuals in the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC). The SAPTA Grant provides funding for sober living facilities and residential bed infrastructure in Clark County to reduce the average number of days jailed drug court candidates spend waiting for residential placement. Drug court participants have significantly higher rates of success in programs that offer a continuum of care for substance abuse treatment with residential treatment and sober living. That success reduces the burdens on the jail, the justice system and the community as a whole. In FY 2018, 111 participants were provided residential treatment and 189 were provided supportive sober living, with 162 participants obtaining employment.

The Quilts 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 Quilts 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.

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Six Eighth Judicial District Court employees were honored by the bench for going above and beyond in their work to keep things running effectively and efficiently at the court. Those honored include Tatyana Ristic who was named District Court Judicial Employee of the Year; Mark Vobis, named Deputy Marshal of the Year; Brian Hernandez, named District Court Judicial Marshal of the Year; Ronald Ramsey, named Judicial Marshal of the Year; Erica Page, named District Court Administrative Employee of the Year and Karen Christensen, named Clerk of the Court Employee of the Year. The ceremony was held at an all-judges meeting on June 13.

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DC 7 Photo

Judge Linda Marie Bell was selected to be the new chief judge of the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court. She will succeed Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez in the post effective July 1. The District Court judges vote on who will serve as the chief judge for a two-year term. The chief judge maintains responsibility for managing the administration of the court. “I look forward to working with everyone in this new capacity,” said Judge Bell. “A key area of focus for me will be long-term planning to ensure the court is well positioned to meet the demands of the future and achieve significant goals.”

Judge Bell grew up in Nevada. She graduated from Bonanza High School and the University of Nevada, Reno with honors. In 1993, she received her law degree magna cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law. She worked in Las Vegas law firms, practicing primarily in the areas of medical malpractice and family law. For twelve years prior to taking the bench, Judge Bell worked as a public defender.

Judge Bell was elected to District Court Department 7 in 2008. Since taking the bench in January of 2009, she has handled both civil and criminal cases and managed the criminal division specialty courts for more than two years. She also ran the grand jury for six years. Judge Bell served on the court’s legislative committee every legislative session since 2009. Judge Bell currently serves as the secretary for the ABA National Conference of State Trial Court Judges. She previously served as president of the  Nevada District Judges’ Association and the Howard D McKibben Chapter of the American Inn of Court. Since 2011, she has taught criminal law and criminal procedure at UNLV. She is active the in community, including participation in the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Leadership Las Vegas program.

“Judge Bell has an outstanding track record of leadership through her work with the specialty courts and other programs for the judiciary and the community,” said current Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. “She brings a wealth of experience and a high level of commitment that will be assets in the role of chief judge.”

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. Under Judge Gonzalez’s leadership, management for homicide cases was also centralized to improve efficiency in the timely disposition of such cases.

 

 

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Fourth grade students from Rundle Elementary School had an eye-opening experience when they sat through Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Doug Herndon’s actual criminal calendar. The students reacted when the judge sentenced an armed robber to six to 20 years. One students remarked that he hadn’t even been alive that long. Judge Herndon and Judge Linda Bell fielded questions from the kids after the criminal calendar and before the students took on roles of judge, jury, attorneys, witnesses and marshals for a Harry Potter mock trial. Two classes were part of the pilot-program done in coordination with Project REAL. The activities are intended to teach students about the justice system, possible career opportunities and the consequences of criminal activities. A highlight for the kids was a taser demonstration conducted by District Court Marshal Tom Lemke.

Judge Herndon envisioned this mock trial program and wrote the script as a way to provide a fun and interesting way for young students to learn about the justice system. “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 to see career roles that they may want to consider in the future.”

Rundle Elementary is the first Clark County School District school to participate in this mock trial program. “We appreciate the teachers and principal bringing their students to watch a criminal court and participate in a mock trial,” said Judge Bell. “These kids are at the perfect age to learn about the justice system. Giving the students a front-row seat in a real courtroom helps them understand the impact people’s bad decisions have on others and on our community. We also hope to inspire these kids to become the next generation of lawyers and law enforcement professionals.”

To support the lessons in Judge Herndon’s script, Project REAL created three days of presentations and supporting worksheets. Project REAL’s staff then presented the lessons to the students of Rundle Elementary with support from their teachers. These activities prepared students for their Harry Potter experience by teaching them basic law-related vocabulary, trial procedure, and the roles and career opportunities available in the justice system.

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. More information about Project REAL can be found by visiting http://projectrealnv.org or contacting mkamer@projectrealnv.org.

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