The July 10 Civil Bench Bar Meeting at noon in courtroom 10D will offer up the latest information on changes to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) practices. Attorneys who attend, will get the added benefit of .50 hour credit continuing legal education (CLE). The ADR update by Commissioner Erin Truman will be followed by a Nevada Supreme Court case update.
At the June Civil Bench-Bar Meeting, assistant court administrator Mike Doan with IT gave information on a File and Serve update. When documents are filed, all those on the case service list are noticed immediately. Prior to the change, the document would go into cue to be approved by the Clerk’s Office. If a document is rejected, notification will be sent to the service list in a separate email. It is incumbent upon the attorneys to check if a hearing is scheduled. The document link remains active for 30 days.
Many of the judges at the meeting weighed in on an informative panel discussion on jury selection that was facilitated by Bradley Johnson and Jake Smith. Jury Commissioner Mariah Witt was on-hand to address questions.
Attorney can see what judges preferences on jury selection are by visiting the court website: http://www.clarkcountycourts.us/departments/judicial/civil-criminal-divison
The topics of social media checks on jurors, jury selection time limits and jury questionnaires were discussed.
Some tips included what cannot be asked during voir dire:
- Questions that invade the province of judges
- Predisposing jurors before hear any evidence
- Questions that get into facts of the case
- Questions about the law and how applied
- Anything that violates EDCR 7.70 https://www.leg.state.nv.us/CourtRules/EighthDCR.html
There was a lot of discussion on jury questionnaires, which are reportedly being used with increased frequency. A panel member offered up a tip that it is unwise to use a question that opposing counsel has not stipulated to, because it may get raised as an issue later.
The Jury Commissioner gave a summary the process for questionnaires. The summonses for questionnaires are sent out around six weeks in advance. Jury Services works questionnaires in their trial schedule. Questionnaires are fit in between trials Jury Services can have multiple questionnaires in a week therefore is best to have advanced notice on the need to do questionnaires. A special briefing is given to potential jurors prior to questionnaires. Potential jurors are provided with an instruction sheet to inform them when they’re coming back. Notifications can be sent to potential jurors via email or text.
A number of judges offered up some thoughts on questionnaires. One judge said that lawyers don’t get to have grass under their feet but encouraged patience for jury selection, adding voir dire is an important phase of the case and questionnaires are good in cases that warrant them. Another judge added that if people are repeating themselves or going far afield there is an effort to speed them up.
Another judge reminded attorneys in attendance at the Bench-Bar that trials are our jobs. For jurors this is not their job and reminded that jury service takes jurors away from their job their family. In a relatively short trial or straightforward case, if potential jurors are forced to come down multiple times for a three-day trial, they are not going to be happy. Those at the Bench-Bar were urged to be cognizant of the inconvenience to potential jurors. Several judges also noted that potential jurors are lost when questionnaires are too long and if people are repeating themselves or going far afield an effort is made to try to speed them up. Those at the Civil bench-Bar were reminded that the jury questionnaires are a public record and attorneys must ensure that questionnaires don’t exceed the bounds of propriety.
Attorney Aileen Cohen spoke on the Cancer Action Network and urged those at the Bench-Bar Meeting to advocate on behalf of cancer programs. The meeting closed with a summary of new civil decisions by the Nevada Supreme Court.