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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

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“The 8th JDC is operating a coordinated family division model at a scale that places it in a league of its own based on the breadth of case types it oversees,” reports the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges after an eight-month evaluation of the Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division. “Many challenges exist but NCJJ also documented a parade of strengths that other jurisdictions could benefit from emulating.” 

The independent evaluation was significant, with site-specific findings and recommendations for the Eighth Judicial District Court that include:

  • “The 8th JD Family Division is a progressive jurisdiction with regard to the use of administrative data systems and technology. They are enabling the generation of judicial orders in the courtroom, implementing 1J/1F case assignment, online dispute resolution and online TPO filing and strategies to enable judges/judicial teams to compose court orders for routine hearings and distribute at the conclusion of the hearing. It is the first jurisdiction that NCJJ has encountered with the capacity to use its data systems and information technology capacity to explore the inter-relationships of cases for families with multiple legal matters presented to the court over time. We view this strength as critical for operating Nevada’s coordinated family division model in a large, rapidly growing jurisdiction.”
  • “The commitment to provide non-adversarial procedures for family case resolution is strong in the 8th JDC, with a vision to meet the needs of families that are increasingly comfortable with online applications and dispute resolution tools.”
  • “The 8th JDC Family Division is exceptionally busy and operating at a lean staffing level when compared to other comparably sized jurisdictions such as family courts serving Kings County (Brooklyn) and Queens County in New York City, which have up to twice the overall judicial offer resource to hear similar range of case types. Nonetheless, the court’s leadership over the past five years is addressing the points of greatest stress. Sometimes the efforts are locally driven and other times they are in coordination with the Supreme Court of Nevada.”
  • “The pressures of an antiquated facility footprint designed for a jurisdiction half its current size is undeniable for Clark County. Family division administration is focused on extending the facility life and addressing safety concerns, while addressing the space allocation for self-represented parties and temporary protective order triage. During interviews, there were many critics and legitimate concerns, but the NCJJ team left with the impression that the court administration is focused on solutions until a long-term decision is made.”

“This assessment confirms that the Family Division is doing great work and implementing innovative programs that provide for the effective and efficient administration of justice,” said Presiding Family Division Judge Bryce Duckworth. “The assessment acknowledges that our Family Division is exceptionally busy and operating at ‘a lean staffing level when compared to other comparatively sized jurisdictions’ and notes that the Court’s leadership is ‘addressing the points of greatest stress.’ We should be proud of the work that is performed in the Family Division of the Eighth Judicial District Court. Nevertheless, we welcome the constructive feedback offered in the assessment and recognize the need to continue to look for ways to improve the services that we offer families in our community. We look forward to addressing the challenges identified in the full report and the site-specific findings and recommendations.”

Beginning in the mid-1980s, Nevada policy makers had a vision for addressing the needs of families in court in a coordinated manner. After a referendum on an amendment to the state Constitution, an ambitious coordinated family division model in judicial districts serving populations over 100, 000 people was implemented. The goal of the recent independent evaluation, conducted between January and August of this year in Clark and Washoe counties, was to determine if family court was meeting expectations of families and lawmakers, following state and local courts rules, and resolving legal disputes timely and effectively. Research was done through phone interviews, electronic surveys, and site visits.  To download the full report, visit https://nvcourts.link/FamilyDivisionAssessment.  According to the report, “There is a commitment to make sure that the case of the most vulnerable especially children are a priority for resource allocations.”

“The findings from this independent evaluation demonstrate that despite population increase and tremendous caseload growth that have stressed resources, through strategic evaluation, planning, work, commitment and effective use of technology the Eighth Judicial District Family Division has made great progress and is viewed as model for other courts. The study also makes apparent  there is a crucial  need to upgrade facilities to maintain adequate service to the public,” said Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “I applaud the work that has been accomplished by judges and staff to ensure that the community is being served in an effective and efficient manner that is in the best interests of families, especially given the less than optimum facilities and short staffing.”

The study was conducted over eight months by the research division of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The study’s purpose was to identify the high-level areas in which the coordinated family division operating models for juvenile and family law are meeting legislative goals.

The NCJJ study affirms that Nevada has a unique and ambitious vision for how courts should work for families in crisis. Nevada’s coordinated family division model brought together over 20 different case types in the juvenile and family law areas under one roof. The charge is to coordinate everything from divorces and child custody and child support, through child abuse and neglect matters and delinquency, to adult and juvenile guardianships, name changes and involuntary mental health commitment hearings.

The National Center for Juvenile Justice, located in Pittsburgh, Penn., is the oldest juvenile justice research group in the U.S., having conducted national and sub-national studies on crime and delinquency since 1973.

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The Supreme Court’s Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (NRCP) Committee did an exhaustive review that resulted in the changes to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (NRCP), the Nevada Rules of Appellate Procedure (NRAP), and the Nevada Electronic Filing and Conversion Rules (NEFCR). The changes were effective March 1.

There are significant changes to Discovery in the Amendment to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure; some of the changes are nuanced. It has been strongly suggested that the best way for attorneys to get a handle on the changes is to read the revised rules. Viewing the red-line version is a good way to sort through the changes

HTTPS://NVCOURTS.GOV/AOC/COMMITTEES_AND_COMMISSIONS/NRCP/ADOPTED_RULES_AND_REDLINES/

The rules are intended to ensure just, speedy, and inexpensive resolution of every action and proceeding. Over the next few months, to clear up questions from the bar the new rules will be covered in the Civil Bench-Bar meetings. Civil Bench-Bar Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month. The next Civil Bench-Bar meeting is April 9 at noon in courtroom 10D. Judge Joe Hardy will spotlight Rule 5-6. On May 14, there will be a presentation of NRCP proportionality Stand of Discovery presented by Jay Young Esq.

There are a few points that are of particular note. Documents are automatically accepted, electronically served and immediately available for filing.  Please note that if a party is not registered in the e-filing system, service is the responsibility of the filer.

Rule 16.3C outlines modifications made to the process of Reports and recommendations. Once the Commissioner or Acting Commissioner signs off on the Report and Recommendations with the new notice page, Discovery will now file and serve the original Report and Recommendations. An Order with a file-stamped copy of the Report and Recommendations (with run slip, if there is any) will be forwarded to departments.

Departments are now handling scheduling orders. Prior to issuing a scheduling order, the court will meet with the lawyers (parties may also be required to attend) to discuss discovery to ensure that the process is more meaningful as outlined in Rule 16: Pretrial Conferences; Scheduling; Management (a) Pretrial Conferences; Objectives. In any action, order the attorneys and any unrepresented parties to appear for a conference or conferences before trial for such purposes as: (1) expediting disposition of the action; (2) establishing early and continuing control so that the case will not be protracted because of lack of management; (3) discouraging wasteful pretrial activities; (4) improving the quality of the trial through more thorough preparation; and (5) facilitating settlement.

Discovery extension requests must go through the departments.

For the benefit of the bar and to ease confusion until the Eighth Judicial District Court (EJDC) amends its local rules to conform to the amended NRCP, NRAP, and MEFCR, the EJDC finds it necessary to suspend or modify certain District Court Rules. There are areas where rules are inconsistent with amendments to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure.  An Administrative Order ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER 19-03 suspends those rules, to give clarity and ensure that the new rules take precedence over all local rules or district court rules. The local rules committee will make adjustments to eliminate inconsistencies, but it could take some time.

IT IS ORDERED the following rules are suspended or modified until further notice:

  1. Rule 1.14(a) through (c) is suspended;
  2. Rule 1.90(a)(2) is modified to strike references to the discovery commissioner and replace those references with “district judge;”
  3. Rule 1.90(b)(3) and Rule 1.90(b)(4) are suspended;
  4. Rule 2.20(b) is suspended. Motions requiring a hearing must include the designation “Hearing Requested ” in the caption on the first page of the

motion as follows:

Case No.

Dept. No.

HEARING REQUESTED

  1. Rule 2.34(f) and Rule 2.34(h) are suspended;
  2. 6. Rule 35(a) is modified to strike references to the discovery commissioner

and replace those references with “district judge” as the district judges will handle stipulations or motions to extend discovery deadlines;

  1. Rule 2.55 is suspended;
  2. Rule 5.602(g) is suspended;
  3. Rule 8.01 and Rule 8.03 through 8.16 are suspended.

If a document is filed incorrectly in a case, the department will strike the document and ask the attorney to refile the document in the proper case.

 A red-line version of the new rules can be found at THIS LINK. A PDF version of the revised rules affected by ADKT 522 can be found at THIS LINK.

 

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It’s not difficult to find tips online on how to get out of jury duty. Legal experts note there is a historic decline in the number of civil jury trials, both at the state and federal level. That’s the reason a luncheon panel comprised former jurors who served in the federal or state court in Southern Nevada was held in early September. The luncheon was a forum to learn from the former jurors how jury duty can be improved. The panel opened up to an audience of judges and attorneys about their experience of serving on a jury. The discussion and information gleaned will be included in a national Civil Jury Project study to solve the mystery of why jury trials are on the decline. The valuable information the panelists revealed at Las Vegas Jury Improvement Lunch can be viewed on the Civil Jury Project website https://civiljuryproject.law.nyu.edu/9-5-18-las-vegas-jury-improvement-lunch. Lunches conducted in other cities can also be viewed on the site https://civiljuryproject.law.nyu.edu.

Moderator Steve Susman, the executive director of the Civil Jury Project at New York University (NYU) School of Law, floated some unconventional suggestions for discussion as ways to improve the jury service experience. The suggestions were diverse including: the idea of no sidebars to eliminate wait time for discussion of issues out of the presence of the jury; what and when jury a can discuss issues of the case; and what questions lawyers can ask during jury selection. The question of providing one verdict form per jury versus one per each juror was raised. The moderator raised the idea that jury selection would be more efficient if jurors had more information up front and asked the panel’s input on giving complete opening statements to all potential jurors.

Research on potential jurors was also a topic of discussion. The moderator asked,Do you think the selection process disclosed biases?” Susman raised ethical concerns and asked the jurors if they feel it is an invasion of privacy for attorneys to gather information about potential jurors on social media. Former juror Tabitha Gerken responded, “It’s inappropriate, but it’s expected.” When pressed why, she said, ”you’re asking the jurors who are taking time out of their life; they can’t talk to their spouses; they can’t talk to their friends; you’re asking them to be impartial, but then there’s other people, who they don’t know, who they’ve never met, who get to judge them from the outside by what they have on social media or on the Assessor’s page, or whatever. I don’t think it’s appropriate, but I expect it anyway.”

Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Michael Villani, who had been selected to serve as a juror in a trial, noted that the jurors he served with questioned all the downtime. He shared that the experience made him more aware when he is presiding over trials. He said, “I tell jurors that while you’re waiting, we are working. I give them that little phrase so they know we are not just back there chit-chatting, that there is something important going on; that’s why there is a delay.”

Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Timothy Williams said that he uses jury questionnaires in about 50 percent of his cases and added that one of the issues that a District Court Jury Commission is looking at to save time is online jury questionnaires. He said, “We’re trying to devise a way where lawyers can actually submit their questionnaires in case specific and individual to the jury commissioner and have those answered.”

The moderator asked if it would be helpful to have more instruction from judges on deliberation. Federal District Court Judge Richard Boulware said that he would be open to giving jurors structure. He said, “I’ve heard from jurors that no one really tells them how to deliberate.”

A former juror at the session shared that, when he served on a jury, it wasn’t clear to the jurors what charges the witnesses were testifying on.

The difference between evidence driven deliberation and verdict driven deliberation was also discussed. According to Susman, empirical research shows jurors more satisfied when do evidence based deliberation and it’s harder to change minds once someone has already voted.

The use of straw polls was discussed. The suggestion was made to conduct straw polls with anonymous notes that include a not sure option. The idea is to reduce the potential for social pressure to influence  juror decisions.

When it comes to jury selection, Susman shared that 35 jury trial consultants told the Jury Project that questions: where do you get your news, and which person do you admire most and why, are more important than almost any other question to ask potential jurors.” Susman questioned the appropriateness of such questions.

All the former jurors agreed they would be willing to serve on a jury again and offered suggestions to improve the experience. Moderator Steve Susman indicated that common themes have emerged nationally about the jury process including: it was very repetitive; the trial lasted longer that it needed to because the lawyers just repeat themselves; there’s a lot of down time and wasted time before you even get selected.

The panel in Las Vegas was done in cooperation with the courts and the Clark County Bar Association.  Information learned will be part of New York University’s Civil Jury Project, the only academic center in the country dedicated exclusively to studying civil jury trials. The Civil Jury Project goal is to find out why jury trials are vanishing, whether this is a bad thing, and, if so, what can be done to prevent their decline. The juror luncheon in Las Vegas was the 18th held across the nation for a study that includes more than 260 state and federal judges, legal professionals and academics.

The participation of the former jurors and judges was greatly appreciated, including those jurors who were in the audience. Their input was invaluable and will help to ensure the Civil Jury Project reflects the views of our community.

To see the discussion visit the Civil Jury Project website:

https://civiljuryproject.law.nyu.edu/9-5-18-las-vegas-jury-improvement-lunch/

https://civiljuryproject.law.nyu.edu/

Tina Marie Pescatori reveals what she experienced when she served on a jury

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0YQx8IZmSc&t=5s

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Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez issued two administrative orders that outline changes to both the civil and criminal dockets in the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court.

NV Eighth Judicial District Court Administrative Order 10-04 AO 18-04

NV Eighth Judicial District Court Administrative Order 10-05 AO 18-05

The following courtroom/chamber moves will also take place from June 29 through

July 1:

Department 11 (Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez) will move from courtroom 10 to 3E.

Department 19 (Judge William Kephart) will move from  courtroom 3E to 16B.

Department 4 (Judge Kerry Earley) will move from courtroom 16B to 12D.

Department 16 (Judge Timothy C. Williams) will move from courtroom 12 D to 3H.

Department 15 (Judge Joe Hardy) will move from courtroom 3H to 11D.

Department 2 (Judge Richard Scotti) will move from courtroom 11D to 3B.

Department 29 (Judge David M. Jones) will move from  courtroom 3B to 15A.

Department 7 (Judge Linda Marie Bell) will move from courtroom 15A to 10.

Effective July 1, Judge Linda Marie Bell will assume the responsibilities of chief judge for the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court. “I know that moving is disruptive; I appreciate everyone’s patience with the process,” said Judge Bell. “The moves will allow the business court judges to remain on the same floor, which has been very beneficial to the business court litigants and judges. This will also ensure that all judges handling criminal cases have Sally-port access.”  Those who have questions or concerns regarding the moves are encourage to contact Judge Bell’s office.

CourtroomList6_20_18

This is a complete list of courtrooms with the new assignments: CourtroomAssignments6_20_18

 

 

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Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael A. Cherry and Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court Discovery Commissioner Bonnie A. Bulla, have been selected as recipients of the 2018 Liberty Bell Award. They will receive the awards on April 28 at 9:30 a.m., at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 S. 4th St., at the Las Vegas replica of the Liberty Bell at Centennial Plaza.

The Annual Liberty Bell Award, a partnership between the Clark County Law Foundation’s Let Freedom Ring Committee and the City of Las Vegas, has been recognizing and honoring outstanding citizens since 1983. The 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.

Associate Chief Justice Michael A. Cherry has been an attorney in Nevada since 1970 and was elected to the Supreme Court in 2006. He ran unopposed for a second 6-year term in November of 2012, when he served as Chief Justice for the Nevada Supreme Court. He also served as Chief Justice in 2017. Associate Chief Justice Cherry chairs the Indigent Defense Commission that examines how the justice system deals with criminal defendants who cannot hire their own attorneys. He also chairs the Right to Counsel Legislative Commission and is the supervising justice over the Senior Justice and Judge Program.

Bonnie A. Bulla was appointed Discovery Commissioner to the Eighth Judicial District Court in January 2007. Commissioner Bulla has been an active member of the legal community including work with the American Bar Association where she served as Speaker of the Young Lawyers Division. She was a past president of the Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys. She has also been a member of the Nevada Trial Lawyers Association, now known as the Nevada Justice Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association and the Defense Research Institute.

Congratulations to both winners for the recognition.

The Clark County Law Foundation is dedicated to providing community service programs throughout Southern Nevada that are integrated with law-related education.

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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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An army of volunteers descended on Cashman Center on Nov. 14 to provide services to thousands of Valley homeless at Project Homeless Connect. The Eighth Judicial District Court Family Division set up a court on-site. Judge Linda Marquis set sixty-day hearings and quashed warrants for 28 cases with homeless parents who had fallen behind on child-support payments and needed time to get their finances in order. The court Information Technology Division created automated Orders specific to Project Homeless Connect and set up the makeshift courtroom at Cashman.

“This event was a big undertaking. Although it was District Court’s first year participating in this annual event, we made a huge impact,” said District Court Judge Linda Marquis, who presided over the hearings at the event. “I am proud of the District Court team that set up and supported the infrastructure that enabled us to hand litigants signed, file-stamped orders that quashed warrants and set return dates. The signed orders served as proof the litigants’ warrants had been quashed.  Those Orders enabled them to qualify for services from providers on-site.“

“Having a warrant is a roadblock to getting a job, finding a place to live or accomplishing other basics that help people live productive lives,” said Judge Charles Hoskin, who presides over the Family Division. “Judge Marquis spearheaded District Court participation in Project Homeless Connect to help give homeless parents an opportunity to turn things around. Judge Marquis’ work and commitment on this event are appreciated.”

Project Homeless Connect (PHC) is an annual service and resource event for those experiencing homelessness or those who are at-risk of becoming homeless. The intent is to bring needed services in one, easily accessed location to help individuals overcome barriers to housing and self–sufficiency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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