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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Nevada Court

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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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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The ability to present testimony via video conference is up and running in all courtroom in the District Court at the Regional Justice Center. Easy access to video conferencing has been highly anticipated and a hot topic at several of the recent Civil Bench Bar meetings. It is expected to save time and money on testimony for out of town witnesses and aid in facilitating the testimony of those who face significant logistical challenges getting to court.

There are a few important considerations to keep in mind including: Counsel/Party must agree to provide all exhibits to the Party or Witness in advance in the same form as have been or will be submitted to the Court Clerk. Any objection to a request must be made in writing within two judicial days of service of a request. Counsel/Party must agree that by submitting a request, the party and witness (or their respective representatives) will test and verify the functionality of video conference connectivity with the court IT department at least two judicial days before the scheduled appearance.  The video conference request form can be found under Court News at Audio/Visual Appearance Request InstructionsFull agreement of counsel isn’t necessary for video testimony to be used; it is up to the judge.

Part IX of the Nevada Supreme Court Rules Governing Appearance by Audiovisual Transmission Equipment can be viewed at https://www.leg.state.nv.us/CourtRules/SCR_AudTranEquip.html. As posted on this site, “The intent of this rule is to promote uniformity in the practices and procedures relating to audiovisual transmission equipment appearances in civil cases.” It’s important to note the following excerpt: “A party choosing to appear by audiovisual transmission equipment at a hearing, conference, or proceeding under this rule must either: Place the phrase “Audiovisual Transmission Equipment Appearance” below the title of the moving, opposing, or reply papers; or at least three court days before the appearance, notify the court and all other parties of the party’s intent to appear by audiovisual transmission equipment. If the notice is oral, it must be given either in person or by audiovisual transmission equipment. If the notice is in writing, it must be given by filing a “Notice of Intent to Appear by Audiovisual Transmission Equipment” with the court at least three court days before the appearance and by serving the notice at the same time on all other parties by personal delivery, fax transmission, express mail, or other means reasonably calculated to ensure delivery to the parties no later than the close of the next business day.”

Bench Bar meetings are one of the best ways to stay up on what’s new in court and to get clarification on issues that surface. On Oct. 24, a joint Guardianship and Probate Bench Bar meeting will be held at the Nevada State Bar office at 3100 S. Charleston Blvd. from 11:30-1:30 p.m. The Blue Ribbon Guardianship Commission will present their report and recommendations on guardianship in Nevada. Attendees will get free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit and lunch will be served.

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The Eighth Judicial District Court is using a $1.4 million grant from the State Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) to work to end the cycle of addiction and crime through residential treatment for 80 participants. There is a desperate need for residential substance abuse and mental health treatment in Clark County. Residential treatment with wraparound services offers judges a viable sentencing alternative to jail-time. It is an approach that has proven to have better outcomes than punitive sentencing.

“I applaud Governor Brian Sandoval and the leadership of DPBH Director Richard Whitley for their efforts to make this funding a reality and taking action to address this pressing need,” said District Court Chief Judge David Barker. “Residential treatment infrastructure has been a missing element in our specialty courts continuum of care. The residential component improves the odds of long-term success for participants. Not only is residential treatment more effective, but it is less expensive than jail. The results are: millions of dollars in savings for the jail, a reduction in jail overcrowding and more individuals successfully completing treatment and becoming productive members of our community.”

The court will use the $1.4 million to provide residential treatment services to 80 defendants per month from District Court and/or the Las Vegas Justice Court. Initially, the Freedom House Project will be the service provider; other providers will be added as they become available. Approximately 35 participants have already been placed in treatment; another 100 people have been sentenced and are waiting to move to a treatment facility.

The residential placements are broken into three levels of care. The Freedom House Coordinated Care Program will provide housing and a drug-free environment to 40 specialty court participants who are also in outpatient treatment through the Choices Group or other treatment providers.  In addition, the funding will cover up to 30 specialty court participants who are sentenced to sober-living with intensive out-patient programming provided in-house.  Up to 10 residential placements will go for in-patient substance abuse treatment services with 24/7 care, monitoring, treatment and housing.

The Freedom House ANCHOR Project will also be available to provide a full range of integrated services for ex­-offenders needing access to housing, education/training, and employment to reduce the likelihood of residents returning to jail or prison. Programming includes the use of mentors, re-entry counseling, job skills development, and employment opportunities. The ANCHOR Project will use evidence-based tools/techniques for successful community reentry/reintegration and access to a range of best-practice services tailored to individual client’s needs.

 

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The Adult Guardianship Bench/Bar Meeting that was scheduled for Sept. 26 has been cancelled. Mark your calendar for the next meeting on Oct.24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Public Guardian’s Office, 515 Shadow Lane. If you have an agenda item for the Oct. meeting please e-mail RootA@clarkcountycourts.usno later than Oct. 14. Attendance to the Bench/Bar Meeting is free plus you getting two free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. Bench Bar meetings are a great way to stay up on the latest developments and improve the efficacy of those who practice in the area of guardianship.

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Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez was selected to be the new chief judge of the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court. She will succeed Chief Judge David Barker. Judges on the District Court bench voted to choose the new chief who will officially start the role on Jan. 1 next year. The chief judge is responsible for managing the administration of the court while maintaining an active (reduced) caseload hearing and deciding cases.

“I am honored to be selected to fill the role of chief judge of the Eighth Judicial District Court and to carry on the precedence of excellence established by colleagues such as Chief Judge Barker,“ said Judge Gonzalez. “I look forward to beginning this new challenge of keeping the court on course to achieve the vision of timely and fair adjudication, optimum technological advancement, continuous improvement and maximum efficiency.”

Judge Gonzalez who was the 2015 Liberty Bell Award honoree, is currently the presiding judge of the Civil Division, handling business and criminal cases and serving on the executive committee of the court. She was appointed to the District Court in July 2004. Prior to taking the bench, she practiced predominantly in complex civil litigation that included business, mass tort, and construction defect litigation. From 1986 to 1998, she was employed with the law firm of Beckley, Singleton, Jemison & List where she focused on these areas of litigation and served as the firm’s president from 1997 to 1998. From 1998 until taking the bench, she operated her own firm.

Judge Gonzalez is a past president of the American College of Business Court Judges and has served as a Business Court Representative to the ABA Business Law Section. Currently she serves on the Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission and serves on both the Education Committee and Judicial Education Requirements Study Committee of the Judicial Council of the State of Nevada. She previously served on the Judicial Council of the State of Nevada, the Supreme Court Jury Improvement Commission, and the State of Nevada Ethics Commission. Judge Gonzalez attained a B.A. in History, with honors, from the University of Florida in May of 1982 and received her law degree from the University of Florida College of Law in 1985. She was admitted to the State Bar of Nevada in 1985.

“Judge Gonzalez has demonstrated repeatedly that she is well-suited to fill the role of chief judge of the District Court. She is well-respected and has excelled as the presiding Civil Division judge; and has contributed much as an executive committee member. I am confident that Judge Gonzalez will lead the District Court in a productive direction,” said current Chief Judge Barker.

Under Chief Judge Barker, the District Court received recognition for several programs including the NACM Top 10 Court Technology Solutions Award and NACM Award for Project 48. During his tenure as chief, Judge Barker worked on the Pre-trial Committee to relieve jail overcrowding, worked to start the Guardianship Commission, served on the Nevada State—Federal Judicial Council and the Judicial Council of Southern Nevada.

 

 

 

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