Nebraska Judicial News February 2014
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Administrative Office Tracking Bills Throughout Legislative Session

The 103rd Legislature, 2nd Session began January 8, 2014, is considered to be a “short” session which is slated to conclude in mid to late April. Bills continue to be tracked by the Administrative Office of the Courts and Probation. View the listing of Bills of Interest to the Judicial Branch and follow all legislation through the online Unicameral Update.

With Spring Around the Corner, Students Have Begun Their Field Trips

There are several student resources on the Judicial Branch website including a printable Branch Overview in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Vietnamese.  Courts by the Numbers lists Nebraska’s number of Judicial Branch Employees, and the Supreme Court Strategic Agenda 2013-2015 outlines the Court’s priorities in a way that is understandable by the general public.

Another printable resource is the Reaching the Age of Majority Booklet (47 pages) provided to all high school seniors through the Nebraska State Bar Foundation.
The judiciary supports students through local programming and the Nebraska State Bar Foundation’s Public Education Outreach Promoting Law & Equity (PEOPLE) Committee.

Photo: Court of Appeals Judge Riko Bishop explains judicial decision making to East High School Freshman.

From Green Screens to Statewide Online Access JUSTICE Celebrates 20 Years

2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the JUSTICE electronic court recordkeeping system that was first piloted in Merrick, Buffalo, and Saline County and District Courts.

The JUSTICE (Judicial Users’ System to Improve Court Efficiency) computer system was named in a competition by former Clerk Magistrate Claudine Jones of Kimball County Court, for which she was awarded a nominal cash prize and lunch with then State Court Administrator Joe Steele. 

The JUSTICE system has undergone many updates but the core information and structure has stood the test of time and become a national standard for statewide online court information.

Although JUSTICE staff has changed over the years, three original members of the JUSTICE Team are still together: Kristi Kreuscher, Paula Crouse, and Sherri Dennis.  All three staffers readily acknowledge that JUSTICE would not be what it is today without the support of the trial court staff and judges.

The statewide installation took over three years, covered 93 counties, 189 courts, thousands of miles, hundreds of hotel rooms and many weeks away from home.  Accordingly, Kreuscher, Crouse, and Dennis have many stories of JUSTICE installation including many harrowing moments driving through blizzards, tornados, and hail storms, occasionally getting lost and arriving at their destination only to find inadequate lodging upon their late-night arrival. 

According to a May 1994 Nebraska Judicial News article: 
“The Merrick County court began using JUSTICE on March 14.”  In order to launch the system, administrative office staff worked with Clerk Magistrate Beth Pullen to enter court information for all pending cases using extra computer terminals set-up in the courthouse vault.

“The Courts have seen huge advances in technology the past 20 years and today we could not function without computers,” noted Clerk Magistrate Beth Pullen.  “I look forward to each new application and programming updates with the same enthusiasm as when we first piloted JUSTICE in Merrick County.” 

According to Jennifer Rasmussen, Deputy Court Administrator for technology,  “Having a statewide case management system is tremendously valuable to Nebraska.  We can share and analyze case information across jurisdictional boundaries, and it provides consistency for attorneys and citizens who interact with the judicial system.”

JUSTICE programmers are currently developing their next expansion: Adding Nebraska’s appellate courts to the resources accessible through the system.
In February the Court passed trial court rules regarding appointment of counsel.  Trial court judges are asked to adopt local rules on or before January 1, 2015 including:
(1) Maintenance of a list of all licensed attorneys who may be expected to accept appointments
(2) Process for appointments under Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-272;
(3) Information as to how an attorney may be added to, or removed from, the list
Judicial Branch Education (JBE) is dedicating a group luncheon to the rule change process on August 6, 2014.
The noon programming kicks-off the 8th Circuit Judicial Conference (August 6-8).  See rule links below for further instruction.
Judges will receive registration information from JBE. 

Court Rule Amendments

In the past 90 days

Rules recently passed by the Nebraska Supreme Court are listed in the rules archive.  Rules include: child support guidelines and appointment of counsel in juvenile, county, and district courts.

All rule changes are maintained on a 90 day listing on the Judicial Branch Website: Rule Amendments (made within the last 90 days).

Monthly Digest

View archive of website information by month 

The Judicial Branch Website maintains a listing of Press Releases, Administrative Announcements, Judicial Branch Education updates and approved and proposed rule amendments in a Monthly Digest, viewable online.

Judicial Branch Education Monthly Update

New information and course schedules have been posted to the Judicial Branch Education Intranet page.

February news includes upcoming education opportunities (including JUSTICE training), new employee orientation, and enhancements to the webinar archives for 2014. Read more on the About Judicial Branch Education page.

Court/Probation Employees

For Additional Court or Probation News
Log in to the INTRANET web page and view the “Home” button under either the Court Intranet or the Probation Intranet, or both.  Judicial Branch Web page:

Contact for log in information.
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February 2014 Judicial News

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