The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) announced Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell of the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County as the Impact of the Year Award recipient during the 8th annual Justice Innovation Awards ceremony at the NCJFCJ’s 85th Annual Conference held in Sparks, Nev. Judge Bell was honored for her work to innovatively rethink, reimagine, and redefine justice for children and families, thus advancing the NCJFCJ’s vision—a society in which every family and child has access to fair, equal, effective, and timely justice.
The Impact of the Year Award recognizes, from the Annual Conference-host state,
an individual, state/local court, law firm, advocacy group, or service provider who has been instrumental in leading or implementing significant improvements or innovations which advance the mission of the NCJFCJ in any of the following ways: Practice improvements implemented state or jurisdiction-wide; state/local legislation or other regulatory improvements; unique state/local court programs or services; courtroom management and/or technology; and/or extraordinary efforts in pro bono work.
In 2021, Judge Bell was instrumental in implementing technology solutions to automate the “Order in the Court” process. Through this process, documents could be reviewed and approved virtually, saving time and resources to manually execute the order. Her leadership in developing a web-based system alongside the Eighth Judicial District Court IT division during the pandemic has created efficiencies across the court while protecting the rights of children.
“Judge Bell managed the complexities of employee safety and public health concerns during the pandemic,” said Judge T. Arthur Ritchie, Jr. of the Eighth Judicial District Court. “She ensured access to justice with the successful launch of the Orders in the Court application. Linda’s leadership in the development of the Orders in the Court application is especially worthy of national recognition.”
“The NCJFCJ is proud to honor the work and dedication of Judge Bell,” said Judge David Katz, NCJFCJ president. “Access to justice has been a huge focus for our organization as we help support judges and court professionals through new challenges and opportunities to ensure the needs of children, families and victims are met and access to fair, equal, effective and timely justice remains a priority. Judge Bell has exemplified the impact she and her team has made.”
Judge Bell grew up in Nevada and graduated from Bonanza High School and the University of Nevada, Reno with honors. In 1993, she received her law degree magna cum laude from the University of San Diego School of Law. She worked in Las Vegas law firms, practicing primarily in the areas of medical malpractice and family law. For twelve years prior to taking the bench, Judge Bell worked as a public defender.
Judge Bell was elected to District Court Department 7 in 2008. Since taking the bench, she has handled both civil and criminal cases and managed the criminal division specialty courts. She also ran the grand jury for six years. Judge Bell served on the court’s legislative committee every legislative session since 2009. Judge Bell currently serves as the secretary for the ABA National Conference of State Trial Court Judges. She previously served as president of the Nevada District Judges’ Association and the Howard D. McKibben Chapter of the American Inn of Court. Since 2011, she has taught criminal law and criminal procedure at UNLV. She is active in the community, including participation in the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Leadership Las Vegas program.
The NCJFCJ also honored Judge Rhonda Hurley of the Travis County 98th Civil District Court as the Innovator of the Year Award recipient for his leadership, inspiration, and solutions to effectively serve children and families with access to justice.