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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court

District Court Family Division Judge Linda Marquis quashed 131 warrants at an annual child support super Saturday event on Aug. 10. In recognition of child support awareness month, the Clark County District Attorney’s Family Support Division (DAFS) coordinated the event to improve engagement and relationships with those involved with the child support program and to handle outstanding child support issues favorably.

More than 850 people attended the event to take advantage of a variety of child support related services presented in a one-stop-shop format.

  • 131 bench warrants were quashed with reduced fees paid
  • 150 driver’s licenses were reinstated with child support payment
  • 97 customers attended the ask-a-lawyer sessions
  • 60 customers were served at the order modification workshop
  • 20 customers received services from DAFS social workers
  • 11 customers were referred to the Access/Visitation Mediation Program
  • $62,825 in past due child support was collected
  • 428 staff-donated backpacks filled with school supplies were given to parents and their children

Quashing warrants and eliminating other barriers associated with unpaid child support is believed to be an effective way to help those struggling to meet child support obligation to get on track.

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A gambling diversion treatment court mock trial with Eighth Judicial District Court Judge Cheryl Moss filled a conference room at the 17th International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking on May 30 at Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The mock trial presented a step-by-step look at a gambling diversion eligibility hearing.

More than 500 professionals from at least 34 countries from across the globe came to the gaming mecca of the world to learn what’s new. Topics at the four-day conference included innovation in policy, regulation, consumer protection, and problem gambling. Judge Moss presided over the mock trial with participation from moderator Carol O’Hare with Nevada Council on Problem Gambling; Dayvid Figler and Caitlyn McAmis with Figler Law Group; Sydney Smith with RISE Center for Recovery; and  Stephanie Hui, Eighth Judicial specialty court coordinator and a volunteer from the audience. The question and answer session ran over as doctors, gaming executives, researchers and other professionals peppered Judge Moss and the mock trial team with questions.

The District Court gambling diversion treatment court is the second in the nation. As gambling is springing up in states across the nation, the gambling treatment court is breaking ground in a much needed field. Professionals from courts in several states have been researching the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court model for adoption in their courts. “The International Conference on Gambling & Risk Taking was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness about our gambling diversion treatment court to the world,” said Judge Moss, who presides over the specialty court.

Judge Moss has been invited to multiple future conferences to present on the gambling treatment diversion court including speaking engagements for the State Bar of Nevada Gaming Law Section, the National Center for Responsible Gaming, and the State of Rhode Island Judiciary and treatment professionals.

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court specialty courts are an effective way to prevent participants from revolving through the justice system. 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.

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Nearly 80 fifth graders from Vanderberg Elementary School, quietly lined up on the first floor of the Regional Justice Center on April 23, as they waited excitedly to go to various courtrooms to watches judges go through their criminal calendars to status check cases, set dates and hand down sentences. The students, who were on their best behavior, were told to pay attention to all the work being done in the courtrooms and to consider this work as a future job for themselves. They were also told to observe each case and learn from them.

We’ve all heard the cliché crime doesn’t pay. The fifth graders from Vanderberg got a first-hand look at why the cliché is actually true, including those who visited District Court Judge Michael Villani’s courtroom to watch his felony criminal calendar proceedings. Judge Villani went through case after case, setting dates for further action and handing down sentences. Judge Villani asked a young man with a long prior record who was being sentenced for snatching a purse, “What can we do to get your attention?”  The young man tried to convince the judge that he had changed and had stayed out of trouble for a while. Judge Villani wasn’t convinced. He sentenced him to boot camp, a regimented program aimed at rehabilitating participants through education and life skills training, manual labor and extensive physical training. He was handcuffed and led off to a holding cell.

After the calendar session, the students watched as the defendants who had been sitting in the courtroom were led away in shackles to a holding area for transport back to the jail. On the way out, one of the defendants blurted, “Stay in school.”

In a question and answer session with the students, Judge Villani shared that he rather the young man who snatched the purse get help, not just punishment. He noted that what many of the defendants have in common is they don’t finish school and they get involved with drugs. Judge Villani said, “If you don’t finish high school, it’s hard to get a job.” He also advised the students that they will probably face peer pressure to do drugs. He warned of the downward spiral that results and is common to many who are convicted of crimes and end up in prison.

The school visit was part of the Project Real youth educational program. 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 kindergarten through 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 including: Your Day in Court, Play By the Rules, REAL Drama, and Independence & You. For more information from Project REAL, please contact Program Director Mike Kamer at mkamer@projectrealnv.org, call 702.703.6529, or visit http://projectrealnv.org.

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A baby cries as Judge Carolyn Ellsworth begins the graduation ceremony for the March class of drug court graduates. The judge smiles and tells those gathered, “It’s great to have the babies here. It’s great that they’re here and come into the world drug-free.” After completing an intensive treatment program, the class of 13 drug court participants graduate to a productive new life. “I’m like your mom, only meaner,” jokes Judge Ellsworth, who presides over the drug court program with the mission to get those with substance abuse issues to stop revolving through the justice system.

Specialty courts use a therapeutic approach that targets and treats the root-causes of the addiction that fuels the crimes committed to feed the addiction. Not a graduation goes by that a graduate does say that the program saved their life. They praise the program but they know the road ahead will be filled with challenges. Judge Ellsworth tells her graduates, “I’m going to miss you. I really am.” She encourages them to keep her informed of their progress and asks them stop by. “I wish I could guarantee you that your lives after drug will be perfect after drug court,” said Judge Ellsworth. “But that would be a complete lie; life isn’t like that.” She reminds the grads that they’ve been given the tools to deal with adversity in a productive way. She encouraged them to stay on the path to a fulfilling life.

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DC 7 Photo

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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Judge Doug Smith

Judge Doug Smith

In a letter addressed to Governor Steve Sisolak, Judge Doug Smith announced his retirement from District Court department eight, effective April 12. In the letter he wrote, “I plan to retire to spend time with my family.”

Judge Smith, who is 67, has presided over both civil and criminal cases in the Nevada Eighth Judicial  District Court for just over 10 years. He began his long public service career in 1982, as a Public Defender in Clark County. He remained in that role for three years, until  he took a post as a prosecutor with the Clark County District Attorney’s office. He stayed with the DA’s office for seven years, until his election as a Justice of the Peace in 1995. His entire career has been in public service, with the exception of a short  period of time in private practice.

“Las Vegas has been good to me,” said Judge Smith while reflecting on his career. “I’m going to miss the work , the judges, the lawyers, the whole thing.” Judge Smith believes he had a responsibility to serve the community. “My theory is get things done. Hopefully it’s correct. I haven’t made everybody happy. When you make a decision as a judge, half the court leaves mad at you.”

Judge Smith is looking forward to spending quality time with his wife, Las Vegas native Kelly Brown, his three sons and a new grandchild on the way.

“I appreciate Judge Smith’s 37 years of service to our community and his dedication to the court,” said  District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell.

The Nevada Commission on Judicial Selection, a judicial body created pursuant to the Nevada State Constitution and governed by the Nevada Revised Statutes, will facilitate the process to fill the judicial vacancy. The commission reviews applications from attorneys, interviews and then nominates three potential candidates for a final selection by the governor.

 

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RJCHoizCompress

Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave.

A delegation from Mexico including investigators, prosecutors and forensic experts will visit the Eighth Judicial District Court in the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave. on March 14 from 9 a.m. until noon to observe an oral, adversarial system of justice in action. The delegation comes from state attorney general offices throughout Mexico including: Querétaro, Nuevo León, Durango and Jalisco. They are here for the week in coordination with the Nevada Attorney General’s Office and the Conference of Western Attorneys General (CWAG).

Mexico has been transitioning to an oral, adversarial system of justice for a few years. They are here to learn best practices as they make the transition.

District Court frequently serves as host to delegations from around the world looking to learn best practices and get ideas for new technology. “We welcome the delegation of justice professionals from Mexico to our court,” said Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “It is a real tribute to our legal professionals who are asked time and again to showcase their professional expertise and advancements with delegations from around the globe.”

 

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