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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Nevada Court

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Graduation from the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court felony DUI (FDUI) program comes with a certificate, a supportive hug, a lifeline to resources and a whole new lease on life. After three to five years of rigorous treatment, participants get the tools they need to control their life, beat their addiction, act responsibly and leave DUI’s in the dust. The felony DUI program is using one-year grant of $30,000 awarded in late 2019 by the Nevada Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety to increase program retention rates, up success rates and improve public safety.  In 2019, 112 graduates successfully completed the program. So far in 2020, five have graduated with seven participants scheduled to graduate on Feb. 14 at a 3 p.m. ceremony in the jury services room.

As part of the 2019 grant application process, the Office of Traffic Safety looked at the success of the  Felony DUI program. Of those admitted to the FDUI program from Jan.  2015 to Jan. 2018, 72 percent completed the three to five year program. The Felony DUI program involves intensive treatment, counselling, random urine analysis and weekly support meetings. Participants in the program have three DUI’s (with no resulting injured parties) within seven years. They are on probation during the entire program and serve a minimum six months under house-arrest. All participants are required to have a breath interlock device on any vehicle they own, operate or have access to  during the entire time they are in the program.

“This Nevada Department of Public Safety  grant will enable District Court to add needed resources to successfully manage the significant Felony DUI Court caseload,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “Intensive treatment over time provides those with a history of DUI’s the tools to address their addiction issues. Ultimately, this makes our community safer.”

FDUI program currently has 326 participants in the program. The court coordinator is responsible for intensive clinical case management. They communicate with all collaborative partners, gather information on how participants are doing in therapy. They also problem solve issues, facilitate successes for clients and make clinical recommendations to the judge on treatment.

“I see firsthand how this program helps participants take responsibility for their actions and change,” said Hearing Master Shannon Wittenberger, who presides over the Felony DUI Court. “This funding gives us the ability to add much needed resources to improve success rates and be more effective at treating those in the program.”

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court specialty courts are an effective way to address root-causes that lead to addiction and recidivism. Intensive treatment has proven to be a cost effective way to keep participants in specialty courts from revolving through the justice system. The Nevada Eighth Judicial District specialty courts include veterans court, mental health court, the OPEN program, drug court, felony DUI court, gambling treatment diversion court, family treatment drug court, juvenile drug court and a youth autism court.

 

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If you’ve been to the Regional Justice Center recently, you’ve probably seen the white canopy covering the information booth at the south end of the building. It looks as if there is a top-secret project going on; perhaps an alien autopsy or secret art installation. Although these theories are intriguing, the truth is the white canopy near the south entrance is phase-one of a jury services improvement project. The new design will streamline the registration of jurors as they enter the building. The new user-friendly system will enable computer registration with a jury services employee stationed to help with registration, offer directions and address questions. Upgrades are also in the works for the jury services room including: seats with charging stations, big-screen TV’s and coffee. It’s all part of a plan to improve the experience of potential jurors while they wait to be brought to a courtroom for voir dire. That’s the part when they interview people to determine who will actually serve on the jury.

There are many reasons why the opportunity to serve jury duty is a great experience.

Top 10 reasons to serve on a jury

  1. Jury service is interesting.Serving on a jury can be a very interesting, informative and rewarding life experience.  It gives those who serve on a jury a front row seat to our justice system and valuable insight on how it works.
  2. Jury duty offers a better understanding of the justice system. – In reality, jury duty lasts only one day if required to appear for the majority of people. On average, only 50 percent of people end up being required to report when summoned; seven percent end up being sent to the courtroom; and only one percent actually serve on a jury. The average jury trials in the Eighth Judicial District Court last three to five days (there are exceptions).
  3. Jury trials are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. – By serving as a juror you are fulfilling a fundamental American right guaranteed by the Constitution.
  4. You are a guardian of justice. – Jury service is one way to have a hand in the justice system and know first-hand that it is fair.
  5. It is an opportunity to meet new people and gain a new perspective. – It is not uncommon for jurors to bond during the experience of serving as a juror. It is a shared experience with a common goal to reach justice.
  6. It is time well spent. In reality, jury duty for the majority of people lasts only one day if required to appear. On average, only 50 percent of people end up being required to report when summoned; seven percent end up being sent to a courtroom; and only one percent actually serve on a jury.  The average jury trial in the Eighth Judicial District Court lasts three to five days (there are exceptions).  Jurors are very rarely sequestered.
  7. For those selected it is a valuable life experience. – Serving on a jury is an opportunity to experience something in life that not everyone can claim. Most countries around the world do not have jury trials.
  8. Jurors are compensated – while jury service does not pay as much as most jobs, seated jurors are paid $40 per day. In addition, many large employers continue to pay employees while they serve on juries.  Please check with your employer regarding policies for juror pay.
  9. Many employers allow and encourage attendance – Employers recognize that jury service is an important responsibility. Some employers even pay their employees regular salary while they serve. Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 6.190, employers MUST allow employees to attend jury duty and it is unlawful to take any action against a person for performing his or her civic duty. In addition, employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use sick leave or vacation time in order to serve jury duty.  Employers also may not require employees to work within eight hours before serving, or to work if jury service (including travel time to and from court) will take four or more hours.
  10.  Mileage reimbursement is offered for those outside Las Vegas city limits –The court provides mileage reimbursement if potential jurors live more than 65 miles away from the Regional Justice Center. Hotel accommodations may also be provided.

 

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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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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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A new phone scam has surfaced that threatens to arrest victims for check fraud. A Clark County resident received a phone call from a very official sounding “Investigator Morgan” claiming to be with a generic sounding law office. The caller not only sounded official, but also knew the victim’s name, Social Security number, birthday and address. The scammer told the victim that there was a pre-trial docket set for him in Clark County Court for check fraud. The victim was told that he could stop the case immediately if he paid $1,096.

Although the victim had not used a check in years, he was frightened by the call. He held his ground though, got off the phone with the official sounding scammer and searched online to get insight. He called the court and his suspicions were verified. The call was a scam.

Different variations of this and other similar scams regularly surface in our community. Senior citizens are a favorite target of these scammers. The scam artists usually call unwitting victims and claim they have a warrant for their arrest or a warrant for a family member for skipping jury duty. They offer up a few details that appear to check out through a cursory Google search, such as the name of a judge or other official. Then the criminals get the victims to purchase a pre-paid credit card for hundreds of dollars to clear the warrant they claim they have. Within minutes, the scammers cash in on the cards and rip-off the worried victims.

Don’t fall for these scams and be aware that the court never calls on the phone to solicit money or personal information. Report the crime to law enforcement and spread the word to friends and family.

Top three things to know about warrant scams:

  1. The court never calls or e-mails people to get personal information such as their social security number. Those who receive these e-mails or call should not respond and are advised to contact the Attorney General’s office.
  2. A key red flag is the request for money. No official representatives of the court will call to solicit money for any purposes.
  3. Be wary of phone calls or emails that look like a jury summons and request important personal information, including: date of birth and social security and driver’s license numbers and threatens a fine or prison for failing to respond.

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Retired District Court Judge Allan R. Earl passed away March 20. Judge Earl was a respected jurist who served on the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court bench from 2000 to 2014. He was appointed to the bench by Governor Kenny Guinn.

“Judge Earl was a great asset to this court and a wonderful human being who taught many lawyers how to think,” said Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez.

Prior to taking the bench, Judge Earl served for 25 years as a partner in the law firm of Galatz, Earl & Associates in Las Vegas, where he specialized in personal injury trial advocacy.

While practicing as an attorney, he served as the President of the Western Trial Lawyers Association, the President of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, now known as the Nevada Justice Association, and was the Lawyer Governor from Nevada to the Board of Governors of Association of Trial Lawyers of America, now known as the American Association for Justice. He was appointed by the Federal Judiciary in Nevada to serve as the Lawyer’s Representative from Nevada to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Judge Earl wrote articles for nationwide legal journals. He was appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court to the original Select Committee to redraft the Discovery Rules under the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure.

In 1994, he was appointed by the Nevada Supreme Court to the Board of Bar Examiners, a position he held for over 21 years. As an attorney, Judge Earl received the highest possible rating, “AV,” by Martindale-Hubbell. As a lawyer, the Nevada Justice Association awarded Judge Earl the Peoples Distinguished Counselor Award in 1994. After he was appointed to the bench the same organization honored him with a lifetime achievement award.

Judge Earl earned a Bachelor of Science degree, Cum Laude in 1965 from Brigham Young University, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1968. He served as a law clerk to the Nevada Supreme Court from 1968 to 1969 and was admitted to the Nevada State Bar in 1968.

Allan R. Earl was listed in the original publication of “Best Lawyers in America.”

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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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