LINCOLN, Neb. — A northeast Nebraska community is keeping its county court judgeship for now, but the fight to do so showed a conflict brewing over whether judicial resources should go to the state’s urban or rural areas.
The state Court Administrator’s office asked the Judicial Resources Commission on Tuesday to postpone a decision about whether to fill an Eighth Judicial District vacancy due to the retirement of County Court Judge Alan Brodbeck in O’Neill, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/2t0k0GR ) reported.
Deputy Court Administrator Jennifer Rasmussen said a six-month delay would give them time to use grant funds to assess how best to serve central Nebraska’s needs.
“We feel this is a unique moment in time where we can pause and. … take this time to do an evaluation to see if we can approach serving this area a little bit differently,” she said.
Rasmussen said that for the next six months, the work would be split between the two other county court judges in District 8 and judges on the edges of two neighboring districts in the Columbus and Norfolk areas.
Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Stephanie Stacy said there’s also a committee of judges trying to be smarter with the courts’ resources.
For over two hours, the commission heard from a stream of people against the idea of losing a judge.
Mayor Bill Price said he’d hate to lose the presence of a judge in the community.
“It seems like every time we turn around Lincoln is pulling something away from rural Nebraska,” he said.
Commissioners voiced support for a statewide study of judicial resources, but voted 10-3 to replace the vacancy.
Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com