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Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

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In addition to a halt to jury trials and implementation of telephonic hearings, the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court Chief Judge Linda Bell issued a second administrative order today in response to COVID-19. It orders no in-person gatherings or meetings to discuss court business.Administrative Order 20-02

The District Court continues to monitor recent developments surrounding COVID-19 and the District Court will continue to evaluate and implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

Trials have already been halted and telephonic hearings implemented. (see post)

Nevada Eighth Judicial District Order Halts Jury Trials, Implements Telephonic Hearings And Implements Other Measures To Protect Community

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Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court Administrative Order 20-02

District Court Administrative Order 20-02 orders no in-person gatherings or meetings to discuss court business. Trials have already been halted and telephonic hearings implemented. (see post) Nevada Eighth Judicial District Order Halts Jury Trials, Implements Telephonic Hearings And Implements Other Measures To Protect Community https://wp.me/p1tnuA-1Fj

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IMG_0111District Court Chief Judge Linda Bell issued and Administrative Order today that alters court procedures effective immediately to protect the community during COVID-19 pandemic. STMFP-RJC-120031317290

On March 12, 2020, Governor Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency in Nevada in response to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Given the severity of the risk posed to the public by COVID-19, and after consultation with the Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice Kristina Pickering, the Chief Judge of the District Court has determined that alterations to court procedure are necessary for the protection of the community.

District Court will continue to accept filings and continue to operate managing cases within the parameters of the order.

All currently scheduled non-essential District Court hearings are ordered to be conducted by video or telephonic means; decided on the papers; or rescheduled unless otherwise directed by a District Court judge. A call center at 702-455-4472 is taking calls  to  assist with rescheduling court appearance, arranging for appearance by alternative means or provide other information based on the circumstances of the appearance.

Essential case types and hearings will continue to be heard through in-person appearances, although appearance by alternative means under Nevada Supreme Court Rule Part IX is encouraged when possible.

Essential case types and hearings include the following:

  • In-custody criminal sentencings, bail motions, and probation revocation hearings until arrangements can be made to hear these matters by alternative means;
  • Criminal arraignments;
  • Civil commitment cases;
  • Guardianship matters except for compliance related hearings which include annual accountings. Given the vulnerability of the guardianship populations, all protected persons shall appear by alternative means;
  • Domestic temporary or extended protection orders;
  • Juvenile delinquency matters;
  • Abuse and neglect preliminary protective hearings;
  • High-risk protective orders;
  • Civil temporary restraining orders and preliminary/permanent injunctive relief hearings.
  • Probate petitions for orders of cremation.
  • Other than jury trials, case-by-case exceptions may be ordered at the discretion of a District Court Judge.

All jury trials, civil and criminal, scheduled in District Court for the next 30 days will be suspended and will be rescheduled as the court calendar allows. No summonsed prospective jurors are to appear. Any currently ongoing jury trial will finish.

The order shall operate to stay trial in civil cases for purposes of NRCP 41(e). The time period of any continuance entered as a result of this order shall be excluded under for purposes of calculating speedy trial under NRS 178.556(1) and  NRS 174.511 as the Court finds the that ends of justice served by taking that action outweigh the interests of the parties and the public in a speedy trial. Absent further order of the Court or any individual judge, the period of exclusion shall be from March 16, 2020 through

April 17, 2020.The Court may extend the period of exclusion as circumstances warrant.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control has advised people to take precautions and that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure. As a result, District Court Administration is ordered to post a notice at the entrance of all district court facilities advising the following people that they may not enter the court facility:

  1. Persons who in the last 14 days have traveled to a country designated as a Level 3 travel health notice according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently those countries include: China, Iran, South Korea, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican City. The list is subject to change by the CDC.
  2. Persons who reside or have close contact with someone who has traveled to any foreign country within the last 14 days;
  3. Persons who have been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital, or health agency;
  4. Persons who have been diagnosed with coronavirus or who has had contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has been diagnosed with CoVID-19; or
  5. Persons with unexplained fever, cough or shortness of breath.

Anyone attempting to enter in violation of these protocols will be denied entry by District Court Marshals.

District Court Administration is also ordered to establish a customer service number in cooperation with the Las Vegas Municipal Court and Las Vegas Justice Court to assist all persons unable to enter the court facility because of exposure or illness.

This order issued by the chief judge shall be reviewed no later than every 30 days and shall continue until modified or rescinded by a subsequent order. STMFP-RJC-120031317290

The Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court judges and staff will be doing everything possible to continue to serve the community in a safe and judicious manner. For updates and more information about the District Court response, please visit our website at clark-countycourts.us, Facebook at Clark County Courts, Twitter at NV8thJDCourt or M Price@LasVegasCourts and blog at https://eighthjdcourt.wordpress.com.

Link to request remote appearance online http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/virtual/

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Far too many families with loved ones facing addiction end up with heartbreak. The stories shared at the recent Eighth Judicial District Specialty court graduation were heartwarming. Families and friends came to cheer on loved ones who many previously feared were forever lost to their addiction. Success stories for those who have overcome addiction, translate to families that can rest easier knowing that they don’t have to worry about their family member being on the street, getting arrested or worse. It means that that their loved one will rejoin their family, be responsible and have a chance at a positive life. It’s a burden lifted from families that ripples through our community.

Three veterans were among this class of graduates. They received specially made quilts from Jarenie Trachier with Valor Quilters of Nevada. The quilts are presented in gratitude of the veterans’ service and to provide them comfort during challenging times.

Congresswoman Susie Lee, who represents Nevada’s third district, addressed the latest class of  grads to complete their intensive treatment programs to start a new life. “This program not only gets you back on your feet, but it also prevents recidivism and coming back through the revolving door,” said Congresswoman Lee. She was referring to the revolving door of addiction and incarceration. Congresswoman Lee encouraged, “When you’re going through hell, just keep on going. There’s going to be times that are trying over the next few years.” She congratulated the grads, thanked the courts, the treatment coordinators and the families and friends who supported the grads on their journey. She said, “It’s  the programs like this on the ground that are really improving people’s lives.”

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NevadaLegislature

During the recent legislative session, a “red flag” law was passed to enable requests for an ex parte or extended order to remove guns from high risk individuals. The law, which became effective on January 1 this year, appears in Nevada Assembly Bill 291 (AB291) with some amendments in AB480. The amendments clarify when the district court has jurisdiction and eliminate a conflicting time provision.

The new law authorizes a family member,  household  member,  or  law enforcement  officer  to  file  a  verified  application  to  obtain  an  ex parte  or  extended order  against  a  person  who engages in high risk behavior.  High risk behavior has a number of definitions, including when a person uses or attempt to use violence or physical force against themselves or another person; when a person communicates a threat of imminent violence; or when a person engages in conduct that presents a danger while the person is in possession of a firearm.  When the protective order is granted, the subject of the petition is prohibited  possessing  or  having  under  his  or  her  custody  or control or by purchasing or otherwise acquiring any firearm.

The law requires the court to have 24/7 availability for law enforcement to have telephonic hearings.  For family applications and for non-telephonic law enforcement applications, hearings must be held the day the application is filed or the next judicial day.

After the order is granted, the law requires service by the appropriate law enforcement agency.  The subject of the application is required to relinquish all firearms and any concealed weapons permits immediately.   The subject of the application then has seventy-two hours to file a receipt with the court.  All orders are reported to the Nevada Criminal Repository.

The court commenced with handling the applications and will have a designated judge on duty on a weekly rotating schedule. The civil/criminal division judges will handle ex parte or extended order applications, since those involved will likely have a nexus with the criminal justice system. Since the “red flag” provision is new, the application volume has not yet been gauged. If needed, a second judge will be designated to meet application demand.

Forms to obtain an ex parte or extended order are available on the Eighth Judicial District Court website forms page http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/departments/clerk/common-forms/ or at the Civil Law Self-Help Center located in the Regional Justice Center at 200 Lewis Ave.

To see the law visit the Nevada State Legislature website:

AB291 https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL//80th2019/Bill/6530/Text

AB480 https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/80th2019/Bill/6930/Overview

This article by Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell was originally published in the in Communiqué, the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association (February 2020) https://www.clarkcountybar.org/communique/february-2020/

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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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“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 princess with the fairy godmother. Eighth Judicial District Court family Judge Cynthia Giuliani transformed into a fairy godmother to make adoptions dream come true for 21 children on Halloween.

Halloween and court can be a scary for kids, but not in Nevada Eighth Judicial District Family Division Judge Cynthia Giuliani’s court. She will suit-up as a fairy godmother to grant adoption dreams for 14 children on Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. until noon at Family Court, 601 N. Pecos Road, in courtroom 22. What has become an annual Halloween event, is a way to make the experience fun and memorable for families, while raising awareness for the big need for adoptive families in our community. Participating families are invited to wear costumes if they like.

“The costumes take the fright factor out of coming to court for the kids and make it fun. I hope that people who may be able to offer a stable and loving home see this and think about adoption,” said Judge Giuliani. “We hope to touch hearts by showing the joy of these new families.”

The District Court Family Division is involved in other special adoption events, including an annual adoption day marathon which is scheduled this year for Nov. 21 and will include seven Family Division judges. “This is the eighth year that Judge Giuliani’s unique approach has raised awareness for the joy that comes from adoption,” said Family Division Presiding Judge Bryce Duckworth. “There are many children in our community who need a loving and stable home in which to thrive. We hope families that can provide love and stability consider making the adoption wishes of these children come true.”

At any given time, there are around 100 children in Clark County in need of an adoptive family. For more information about adoption, call the Clark County Department of Family Services at 702-455-0800 or e-mail DFSAdoptions@ClarkCountyNV.gov.

 

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