Media Releases

Media Releases

State of the Judiciary Address
January 21, 2022
Chief Justice Mike Heavican delivered his annual State of the Judiciary address in the Unicameral Legislative Chamber on January 21, 2022. The address was given at the invitation of the Speaker of the Legislature, Senator Mike Hilgers. The Chief Justice used his time with the legislature to highlight Judicial Branch priorities for the upcoming year, review the previous year, and provide relevant information directly to lawmakers. During his remarks, the Chief Justice noted that the Judicial...Read more
January 14, 2022
The Office of Public Guardian has issued their 2021 annual report, outlining information about the individuals served and programs hosted through the Nebraska Judicial Branch. In addition to the specific data regarding the number of wards, types of guardianship/conservatorship cases, the capacity of the Office to serve, and the status of waiting lists, readers will find stories and observations by Associate Public Guardians serving wards and protected persons throughout the state. Through the...Read more
January 10, 2022
Chief Justice Mike Heavican will give his annual State of the Judiciary address to the Legislature at 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 21, 2022, in the Unicameral Chamber. Nebraska Public Media will air the speech online as part of its regular legislative coverage, which can be viewed: https://nebraskapublicmedia.org/en/watch/live/ (link will appear as Legislative Morning Session ). The Chief Justice will give the State of the Judiciary address at the invitation of the Speaker of the Legislature,...Read more
January 6, 2022
Nebraska District Court Judge Julie D. Smith of Tecumseh, Nebraska, was invited to sit with the Nebraska Supreme Court on January 6, 2022. Smith heard arguments in the case of Nationwide Transportation, Inc. v. Navistar, Inc. (S-20-0579). The case is a contract dispute involving the purchase of trucks where Navistar disputes the judgment entered in favor of Nationwide and Jasper on their claims of fraudulent concealment and breach of warranty, while Nationwide and Jasper dispute the damages...Read more
January 6, 2022
Judge of the District Court, Fifth Judicial District, Robert R. Steinke, has announced his retirement effective February 2, 2022. In his letter to the Governor and the Chief Justice, Steinke noted, “It has been such an honor and privilege to have served the citizens of our great state, and in particular those of the Fifth Judicial District, since my appointment by Governor Nelson some 30 years ago.” He added, “I have been privileged to have served with so many outstanding jurists at all levels...Read more
January 5, 2022
Nebraska District Court Judge Stefanie A. Martinez of Papillion, Nebraska, was invited to sit with the Nebraska Supreme Court on January 5, 2022. Martinez heard arguments in the case of Spratt v. Crete Carrier Corporation (S-21-0530) where the Workers’ Compensation Court awarded an employee of Crete Carrier Corporation future benefits for a lumbar spine injury. When the employee was later treated for thoracic back pain, the Workers’ Compensation Court granted Crete’s petition to limit its...Read more
January 4, 2022
Nebraska District Court Judge Michael E. Piccolo of North Platte, Nebraska, was invited to sit with the Nebraska Supreme Court on January 4, 2022. Piccolo heard arguments in the Estate of Blan Larson (S-21-0290). This probate case involves the apportionment of inheritance taxes and the use of estate funds to pay inheritance taxes, attorney fees, and real estate taxes. He sat in place of Chief Justice Mike. Heavican who was recused from the cases. The Court session was held in the Supreme Court...Read more
December 27, 2021
Debra Hand, Assistant Clerk for Cherry County Court, has been selected to serve as clerk magistrate in Valentine. Hand will begin work as clerk magistrate on January 3, 2022. “Deb’s experience working in the county court under outgoing Clerk Magistrate Kay Morrison has prepared her for the challenges of this position,” says Trial Court Services Director Sheryl Connolly. “She also brings a passion for customer service and has experience in both probation and law enforcement, which broadens her...Read more
December 20, 2021
LINCOLN –Melodie T. Bellamy, Kearney; Jason M. Bergevin, Lincoln; Sara J. Bockstadter, Kenesaw; Morgan R. Farquhar, Cambridge; Bryan S. McQuay, Alma; and Henry C. Schenker, Hildreth, have submitted applications for appointment as District Court Judge in the 10th Judicial District consisting of Adams, Clay, Franklin, Harlan, Kearney, Nuckolls, Phelps, and Webster counties. The primary place of office for the judicial vacancy is Hastings, Adams County, Nebraska. The vacancy is due to the...Read more
December 17, 2021
Cherry County Clerk Magistrate Kay Morrison, Valentine, submitted her notice of retirement effective December 31, 2021, after just over 29 years of service to the Judicial Branch. “Kay was promoted to clerk magistrate of the Cherry County Court in 1998,” commented Nebraska County Court Services Director Sheryl Connolly. “She has ably led her court through many years of changes and challenges. She will be greatly missed.” Immediately prior to Morrison’s retirement an Interim Clerk Magistrate...Read more

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