Investitures for Four District Court Judges Set for September 30

The investitures for Judge Tara Clark Newberry, department 21; Judge Christy Craig, department 32, Judge Margaret Pickard, department V, and Judge Bita Yeager, department 1 will be live-streamed at https://www.facebook.com/clarkcountycourts.

Ceremonial Robing and Oath Will Take Place for Four Judges Who are Part of the Largest Group of Women to Ever Join Bench in Nevada

In the recent election, 22 new judges were voted in to serve on the bench of the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court; all were women. Some investitures were delayed due to the pandemic. The second of the two delayed investitures will be held September 30 at 3 p.m. The investitures for Judge Tara Clark Newberry, department 21; Judge Christy Craig, department 32, Judge Margaret Pickard, department V, and Judge Bita Yeager, department 1 will be live-streamed at https://www.facebook.com/clarkcountycourts. Investitures are formal ceremonies with significant symbolism, as new judges publicly swear an oath to uphold justice prior to being ceremonially robed in front of family, friends and colleagues.

“Our new judges have hit the ground running during unprecedented times. They are the largest and most diverse group of judges to join the court at one time,” said District Court Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “They bring new energy to the court during a time that necessitates innovation and resilience to address the backlog created by the pandemic.”

Prior to her election to department 21, Judge Tara Clark Newberry worked in private practice as a managing partner at the Clark Newberry Law Firm. She also served as a mediator for District Court, and as a mediator for the US Bankruptcy Court District of Nevada. She worked as an associate attorney for Deaner Scann Malan & Larsen, as an associate attorney for Alverson Taylor Mortensen & Sanders, as a mediator for the Nevada Supreme Court Foreclosure Mediation Program, as a police officer for the Cincinnati Police Department, and as an office manager for the University Cincinnati’s Disability Services Office. She also worked as a trained investigator for the Cincinnati Police Department. She has dedicated significant time to pro-bono work with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and Nevada Legal Services. Judge Tara Clark Newberry  received her undergraduate degree from University of Cincinnati and  her juris doctor from California Western School of Law. 

Prior to her election to department 32, Judge Christy Craig began her legal career in Las Vegas in the civil world at a local casino. In 1998, she began working at the Clark County Public Defender’s Office. She was a founding member of Lake’s Crossing task force and led action to identify solutions to various problems associated with the treatment of mentally-ill, incompetent defendants in Clark County. A case she brought resulted in a consent decree in which the state agreed to speedy transport of incompetent defendants and construction of a forensic treatment facility in Southern Nevada. As part of the Burnside consent decree, Stein Hospital opened in November, 2015 in Las Vegas. Judge Craig was a co-creator of the Clark County competency court. She developed a program to divert mentally-ill defendants charged with misdemeanors to Southern Nevada adult mental health. She participated in the development of Clark County’s mental health court program, a diversionary alternative to criminal sentences for mentally-ill offenders which helps ensure continued treatment of program participants and reduces recidivism. In collaboration with UNLV School of Social Work, she created and managed an intern program for master of social work students. Interns assisted in coordinating social services for persons charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses. She worked in medical laboratories as a medical technician for more than a decade prior to her law career. Judge Craig received her undergraduate degree from University of Nevada Las Vegas and her juris doctor from California Western school of Law. 

Judge Margaret Pickard currently presides over dependency cases in department V. Prior to taking the bench as a district court judge, Judge Pickard served as a hearing master for five years for the Family Division, hearing cases in child abuse and neglect and juvenile delinquency. She also worked as a family law mediator and parenting coordinator, assisting parents involved in high conflict custody cases to work cooperatively to resolve timeshare disputes. 

Judge Pickard brought the Cooperative Parenting program to UNLV, teaching separating and divorcing parents involved in Family Court cases how to remove their children from parental conflict.  In 2011, she was awarded the Peacemaker of the Year by the Mediators of Southern Nevada, for her work in this program. From 2014-2018, Judge Pickard served on the Executive Council of the Nevada State Bar’s Family Law Section. During this time, she was the co-editor of the Nevada Family Law Report and co-chair of the Child Witness Committee, developing standardized protocols for conducting child interviews in the Family Court system. Judge Pickard has authored several articles for the Nevada Family Law Report and regularly trained Family Court judges and attorneys throughout Nevada to develop best practices in creating parenting plans and holiday schedules for separating and divorcing families. Judge Pickard is the author of several books, including The Parenting Guidebook. In 2012, she was a co-host of the radio show, Divorce War Radio. Since 2012, Judge Pickard has actively worked in the Las Vegas recovery community, helping youth who are struggling with addiction. She graduated from the University of California, Davis, magna cum laude, with a B.A. in sociology. She received her juris doctorate from the King Hall School of Law, at UC Davis, where she served as the managing editor of the UC Davis Law Review.

Prior to her election to department 1, Judge Bita Yeager had a 25-year legal career in public service in both civil and criminal law. In 2017, she was selected to be the first specialty court hearing master for the Eighth Judicial District Court.  As a hearing master, she created the co-occuring disorders treatment court, and presided over 200 hearings every week in the mental health court, co-occurring disorders court, Assisted outpatient treatment court, and civil commitment court. She is an instructor at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team training, is a member of Nevada’s Statewide Mental Health Crisis Hold Workgroup, and has served as an adjunct professor at the UNLV Boyd School of Law. Prior to her selection as a hearing master, she served on the bench as a Las Vegas Justice of the Peace, hearing civil matters.  She spearheaded the creation of the Las Vegas Community Court and the North Las Vegas Community Court, and established a partnership between the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, Legal Aid of Southern Nevada and Boyd Law School to create a pro bono record sealing project.   Before her service as a judicial officer, she was a trial litigator and team chief in the Clark County Public Defender’s Office for over 18 years. She received her undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and her juris doctor from Brigham Young University, J. Reuben Clark Law School. 

Fifty-eight judges now preside over nearly 100,000 criminal, civil and family cases that are filed each year in the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court. District Court judges and staff continuously work to develop new ideas, maximize efficiencies and improve access to justice. For more information about the Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court, please visit our website at clarkcountycourts.us, Facebook facebook.com/NV8thJDCourt, Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nv8thC or M Price@LasVegasCourts and blog at https://eighthjdcourt.wordpress.com.


Source: Mary Ann Price, Court Information Officer, Nevada Eighth Judicial District Court

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