Bita Yeager has been named to fill the hearing master position for the Eighth Judicial District specialty courts. She was selected through a three-tiered recruitment process, established in an administrative directive for selecting District Court hearing masters and commissioners, that includes public input.
“Bita Yeager brings a diverse wealth of experience to the position of hearing master for the specialty courts,” said Eighth Judicial District Court Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez. “Her qualifications are well-suited to the rigorous nature of the specialty courts and I anticipate that she will be a strong asset to the program that has great success turning lives around.”
Bita Yeager just finished her term as Justice of the Peace after becoming the first Asian-American to be appointed to the Las Vegas Justice Court. She specialized in indigent criminal defense for more than18 years with the Clark County Public Defender’s Office where, for a number of years, she handled the specialty courts dealing with the mentally ill. She has taught classes regarding the mentally ill in the justice system to both attorneys and Metro Officers (as part of their Crisis Intervention Team training).
In an effort to prevent recidivism, as a team chief at the Public Defender’s office, Bita spearheaded the creation of the North Las Vegas Community Court, a diversionary court providing counseling and employment training to young non-violent offenders. She also established a partnership between the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, and UNLV’s Boyd School of Law to create a pro bono record-sealing project, called “Clean Slate.” She created a partnership with the Immigration Clinic at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, to help the attorneys in her office better advise non-citizen clients of the immigration consequences of their cases. In 2014, as a result of her efforts, Bita was awarded the Pro Bono Project Award of Excellence from Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and the President’s Award from the Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
Bita earned her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and her Juris Doctorate from the J. Reuben Clark School of Law.
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.”