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News and Press Release Archive

-NEWS

Scholarship Program Announced
The Superior Court Judges of Nevada County are pleased to announce the availability of the John H. Darlington Scholarship award for students planning careers in alcohol and drug abuse counseling. This $1,000.00 scholarship is available annually through a merit-based application process. Each interested applicant is required to write a one-page essay stating why he or she plans a career in alcohol and drug abuse counseling >> more | application

SACRAMENTO December 27, 2012 – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the appointment of Linda J. Sloven to a judgeship in the Nevada County Superior Court.
Sloven, 58, of Nevada City, has been an attorney at Linda J. Sloven, Attorney at Law, since 1994. She was an attorney at Goldstein Demchak Baller Borgen and Dardarian from 1989 to 1993 and an associate attorney at Kazan McClain Greenwood and Harley from 1981 to 1988. Sloven was a staff attorney at Toward Utility Rate Normalization from 1980 to 1981. She earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Golden Gate University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Sloven fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Julie A. McManus. Sloven is a Democrat.

2012 Rules of Court Preview
Pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 10.613, our Local Rules, with an effective date of July 1, 2012, are available for the 45-day review period on this website, “About this Court”; “Rules of Court”; “2012 Rules Preview” or by clicking here.

Calendar Changes in Nevada City Criminal Depts
On January 9, 2012, the following changes to court calendars will become effective. Juvenile delinquency cases (602 calendars) will be heard in Department I on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings. Unlawful detainer cases and LPS jury trials will be heard in Department VI. The DUI arraignment calendar will be permanently assigned to Department II. Jury trials in Departments I and II will only be set to start on Tuesdays. Calendars on Monday holidays will no longer roll to Tuesday and will, instead, be set on the following Monday – this applies to Departments I, II, and IV. The GC Services calendar will be transitioned to written statements which will be reviewed and decided by the judge in chambers. Unadjudicated GC Services cases will be heard on the Wednesday traffic calendar. Citing agencies will discontinue issuing citations to the Fast-Track calendar on Tuesdays after Monday holidays and will cite to appear on the next available Monday. All other court calendars will remain unchanged. Prop 36 Court will remain in Department I and Mental Health Court stays in Department II. The court will change the designation of department numbers between the courtrooms on the first floor of the Courthouse Annex: On January 9, 2012, Department I will occupy the courtroom on the east side of the first floor of the Courthouse Annex (currently Department II)and Department II will move to the courtroom across from the Law Library (currently Department I). This change is necessary to accommodate the unique needs of the 602 calendar. Questions on these changes should be directed to the Court Executive Officer via email at sean.metroka@nevadacountycourts.com or 530-265-1313.

Drug Court Makes Sense (and Dollars) By Judge Robert L. Tamietti
Since 1998, Nevada County has had one of the most successful drug court programs in California. Started by now retired Judge Albert Dover, and refined under now retired Judge John Darlington, Nevada County's Adult Drug Court has literally saved dozens of lives. More than 90 defendants who were hopelessly addicted to drugs have turned their lives around, have stopped committing crimes to feed their drug habits, and have become productive taxpaying members of society. Now, a state sponsored economic evaluation of our Drug Court concludes that our program has helped taxpayers avoid more than $1.4 million in otherwise expected recidivism costs. Why is our program such a success? It begins with a psychological assessment to identify a linkage between drug addiction and criminal behavior. Identifying and then breaking that link, thereby removing the fuel for criminal behavior, is the key. For defendants admitted to Drug Court, six months of in-patient treatment interrupts the addiction, and launches them on the road to recovery. Then, eighteen more months of transitional housing and out-patient treatment, intensive supervision, life skills training, job placement and training, high school equivalency and college courses, all supported by random and frequent drug testing seals the recovery. Graduating from this minimum two year intensive program prepares each defendant to reenter the community as a productive citizen. Without Drug Court, taxpayers would spend an estimated cost of $43,287 per year to house each defendant in state prison. Total estimated prison costs for the current Drug Court participants exceed $1.8 million. After that expenditure, each defendant would then come out of prison with the same addiction that drove him or her there in the first place, and with no better life skills to succeed in society. Little wonder that California prisoners released under those conditions promptly reoffend and return to prison in record numbers. Instead, Drug Court spends roughly $24,000 per defendant for the two years in the program. The state-wide study concluded that taxpayers save more than $16,000 per defendant in the program over the expected costs for incarceration and recidivism (apprehension, prosecution and incarceration for new criminal conduct). The state-wide study concludes that, even for those few defendants who fail out of Drug Court, costs to society decline. The life skills and healthy behaviors learned by defendants in Drug Court pay dividends to taxpayers well beyond the modest cost of the program. Yes, Drug Court is a compassionate response to drug addiction, and to the crime that feeds addicts’ drug habits. But it also is a hardnosed fiscally conservative program that uses a fraction of the cost to taxpayers to attack the root causes of drug-fueled criminality. By breaking that link between drug use and criminality, we taxpayers avoid the known costs of incarceration for past drug-fueled criminality, as well as the certain costs of recidivism among paroled prisoners who have served their sentences without addressing their drug addictions that fuel their criminal behavior. I invite you to read the full report which I recently presented to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors (>> click for report). I also invite you to attend a Drug Court session and to see for yourself the great work being done by the Drug Court Team and participants.

Public Meeting on Proposed New Courthouse A public meeting hosted by California’s Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the Superior Court of Nevada County will present information about potential sites for the new Nevada City courthouse | Details... When: Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 6 pm to 9 pm Where: Nevada County Board of Supervisors Chambers, Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City, California 95959 Changes in Judicial Leadership The Superior Court of Nevada County announces its biennial change in judicial leadership that took effect January 1, 2010.

Nevada County Law Day
The annual Nevada County Law Day event is a collaborative effort between the Superior Court, Law Enforcement and the County Superintendent of Schools. Law Day is a special day for all Nevada County 5th graders to tour the courthouse and learn about the role of the courts and law enforcement in the justice system. They also review basic constitutional rights that most have already learned about in school. The visit consists of three stations with various topics. In one courtroom students role play the case of the stolen bike. Students shadow judges, clerks, attorneys, police officers and courtroom personnel to get the case of the stolen bicycle resolved. Meanwhile, in the next courtroom, students are introduced to the various local law enforcement agencies. Officers explain the unique qualifications of their agency and their job. They provide the kids with hands-on demonstrations of the unique tools they carries on their belts and explain the specially designed protective suits and helmets they wear. The highlight of the law enforcement presentation is when the K-9 unit makes a special appearance. The visit becomes complete with a tour of the jail. The students wind their way through the cold and impervious corridors of the jail where the repulsion of spending time in a cell is firmly implanted to their memory! To reinforce the importance of making good choices and staying out of trouble, students end their jail tour by listening to testimonials given by past probation students. Each year, between 700 – 800 5th grade students walk through the doors of the Nevada County Courthouse. They come dressed in their best, excited to show respect for the courts and people that work there. This informative, fun day allows them the opportunity to experience the legal system in a positive, non threatening way. These young people will long remember their visit to the courthouse.

Drug Court Program Receives Federal Grant Senator Barbara Boxer and the Department of Justice recently announced that the Superior Court of Nevada County will be receiving federal funding to help enhance its drug court program.

Governor Appoints Candace Heidelberger
Judge Heidelberger, 53, of Nevada City, has served as a panel attorney for the Central California Appellate Program since 1997. She has served simultaneously as a contract attorney for Placer County since 2002 and Nevada County since 2004. Additionally, she served concurrently as a public defender for both Placer County from 1997 to 2002 and Nevada County from 2002 to 2004. She was a partner in the law firm Heidelberger and Heidelberger from 1994 to 1997. Heidelberger earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Lincoln Law School. She fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Albert Dover. Heidelberger is a Republican.

Changes in Conservatorship Procedures
Based on a request from the probate bar, the Nevada County Superior Court Probate Department will begin appointing attorneys in conservatorship petitions where dementia powers are sought at the time the petition is filed instead of at the first hearing. Since such appointments are mandated and our volunteer appointment list is a short one, the court urges attorneys who are not on the list to volunteer. If you wish to volunteer, please contact Hilary Burget, Department VI secretary, at (530) 265-1380.

Where appropriate, the probate department will begin issuing tentative rulings in non-appointment conservatorship proceedings. This includes periodic accountings and reviews. It is hoped that the tentative rulings will eliminate the need for attorneys and conservators to appear when everything is in order. The tentative ruling procedure will commence on May 5, 2006. If you have any questions about the new procedures, please contact the clerk's office at (530) 265-1293.

Identity Theft Scam - Failure to Appear for Jury Service
There's a new scam going around. Identity thieves posing as court workers are calling people around the country to tell them they failed to report for jury duty, that a warrant has been issued for their arrest and then ask for a Social Security number and other personal information.

Please be aware that this is just another attempt by theives to illegally obtain your personal information. The Nevada County Superior Court does not make telephone calls to advise jurors or other litigants that they failed to appear for court.

If you receive such a call requesting your personal identification (i.e. bank account, credit card, social security number), hang up immediately and report it to the Nevada County Sheriff at (530)470-2400 or (530)582-7842 in Truckee.

Court now Accepting Credit and Debit Cards
As part of the first phase of the program, the Nevada County Superior Court only accepts Credit and Debit Card payments of fines and fees related to traffic infractions. Payments must be made through the Internet or through a toll free telephone number as they are not accepted directly at the public counters.

-PRESS RELEASES
REAL DUI COURT IN THE SCHOOLS TEEN POST-SURVEY RESULTS
September 29, 2008. NEVADA CITY, CA - The Superior Court of Nevada County announced today that they have received the results from a survey to evaluate the Real DUI Court in the Schools program. The survey was conducted by conducted by Philliber Research Associates under a contract with the Administrative Office of the Courts Funded by a $10,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the Nevada County Superior Court held two Real DUI Court Trials at Bear River and Nevada Union high schools in the spring. “It was a collaborative effort between the Nevada County District Attorneys Office, the Nevada County Public Defender’s Office, the Nevada County Sheriff’s Department, the Grass Valley Police Department, Community Recovery Resources, and our local high schools,” said Tonya Clark, Director of Alternative Court Programs. “The court appreciates the time and commitment from all of these agencies; without their help, we could not bring these valuable programs into our schools.” The survey was completed by students after attending the Real DUI Court Trial at their respective schools. A majority of the students (86%) agreed that drinking and drug use by teens is dangerous and disagreed that it is okay to ride with someone who is just a little drunk or high. Just over three quarters of the students (79 %) agreed that drinking and driving is a serious crime for teens. Nearly three quarters agreed that they had learned about the DUI laws and that the program helped convince them not to drive under the influence. Just over half were in agreement that the program helps teens appreciate the law and our justice system. “It’s challenging to find a balance between keeping the court trial real and keeping the students engaged because a real court trial is not as entertaining as the legal dramas they watch on television. Overall I’m pleased with the results of the survey. It’s a good tool to gauge what we’ve done well and where we can improve in the future,” stated Clark. The full survey can be viewed on the Nevada County Superior Court’s website at: http://nevadacountycourts.com/documents/public/DUI_Survey.pdf

CHANGE IN PUBLIC COUNTER AND TELEPHONE HOURS
NEVADA CITY – The Superior Court of California, County of Nevada announces a change in public counter and telephone hours. Beginning on August 4, 2008, the court clerk’s offices will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A drop box will be provided for filings and payments delivered after 4pm. Filings received before 5pm will be filed on the date delivered.

This change applies only to court clerk’s offices at the Nevada City courthouse (201 Church Street) and the Truckee Branch Court (10075 Levon Avenue).

NORTHERN SIERRA AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT DISTRICT AWARDS COURT $15,000 TO PURCHASE “GREEN” VEHICLE
NEVADA CITY - The Superior Court of Nevada County announced today that it had been awarded $15,000 to purchase a super low emission hybrid vehicle for official court business. The funding came through the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District (NSAQMD), who made the grant from the AB 2766 DMV Surcharge Fund Program. Grants under this program are earmarked for air quality related transportation projects in accordance with the California Clean Air Act of 1988. “We are honored and pleased to have been named a grant recipient,” stated Sean Metroka, the Court’s Executive Officer. “We recognize that the duty to reduce air pollution is especially important for public agencies, who should be leading the support of this public policy.

Mr. Metroka was quick to acknowledge the leadership of the current presiding judge of the Superior Courts, Sean P. Dowling and the other judicial officers of the Court. “Without the vision of the Bench, this funding would never have been possible,” said Mr. Metroka.

The Court has already started the bid process to find an appropriate vehicle. “Due to the fiduciary responsibility of the Court to make purchases based more upon costs than reducing air pollution, it would have been very difficult to justify spending extra for a hybrid when a less fuel efficient vehicle would have been more cost appropriate under current State financial guidelines,” explained Mr. Metroka. “Now the Court can meet both goals – a vehicle that is less expensive than anything we could have purchased without this grant funding, and we help to reduce air pollution in Nevada County.”

Created in 1990, Assembly Bill 2766, known as the “DMV Surcharge Fund Program,” allows counties or air pollution control and air quality districts to impose an additional fee on vehicle registrations for reducing air pollution from motor vehicles and for related efforts. The purpose was to provide necessary funding for air districts to carry out their responsibilities for implementing the California Clean Air Act of 1988. Both public and private entities are eligible to apply for funding. However, private entities must be able to show a public benefit, as opposed to solely a private benefit.

Court Accepting Credit and Debit Cards (10/28/05)
NEVADA CITY, CA. October 28, 2005 - Nevada County Superior Court announced today that there is a new way for residents to pay their traffic court fines and fees. By partnering with Official Payments Corporation®, Nevada County Superior Court now offers the option to pay electronically, over the Internet at www.officialpayments.com or by calling 1-800-350-3604. Visa®, Mastercard®, American Express®, and Discover® credit and debit cards are accepted.

“We are very pleased to offer this service,” stated G. Sean Metroka, the Court’s Executive Officer. “Many court users have asked to make payments via credit card in the past.”

For now, the Court only accepts payments of fines and fees related to traffic infractions. Matters that have been referred to collections are not eligible. Payments can only be made through the Internet or through the toll free telephone number. The Court is still unable to accept credit card payments directly at their public counters. “This is only the first phase in improving this aspect of our customer service. We are committed to being responsive to our customers’ needs for credit card options to pay fines and fees,” explained CEO Metroka, “and we are equally committed to enhancing our collection capabilities, for all Californians, because the revenue supports many critical programs of the State and local governments.”

Metroka also explained that after testing to ensure that transactions are handled accurately and efficiently, the Court would expand this service to allow for payments for all fines and fees, including criminal fines and family and civil law filing fees.

Official Payments, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tier Technologies, Inc., is the leading provider of electronic payment solutions to government agencies. They currently accept payments for the Internal Revenue Service, 25 state governments, including California, the District of Columbia, and more then 1,800 local government agencies. For many citizens, Official Payments offers the ability to pay federal, state, and local taxes and fees all in one session.

Citizens using cards with bonus rewards programs may, depending on their card's program, earn rewards, points, airline frequent flyer miles, or cash back for paying their bills and taxes by credit or debit card through Official Payments. Official Payments charges users a convenience fee for its electronic transaction services. To preview the amount of the transaction fee, please use the fee calculator on the Official Payments website at www.officialpayments.com.