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The Nebraska courts face a challenge shared by many state courts, determining the optimum number of judges needed to successfully do the work of the district, county and juvenile courts. Maintaining an adequate level of judicial resources is essential to effectively manage and resolve court business while providing meaningful access to the courts for the citizens of Nebraska. In order to meet these challenges, an objective assessment of the number and allocation of judges needed to handle caseloads is necessary. To this end, the Administrative Office of the Courts contracted with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) to conduct a judicial workload assessment for Nebraska’s district, county and juvenile courts.
In December 2006, the Final Report of the Judicial Workload Assessment, Nebraska District, County and Juvenile Court was released. The findings of this study, which indicate the need for more district, county and juvenile court judges in Nebraska, coupled with a budget climate that may not be conducive to such expansion, prompted the Nebraska Judicial Resources Commission to search for alternative approaches to meet the state’s judicial resource needs. On January 8, 2007, the Nebraska Judicial Resources Commission (JRC) requested that the Nebraska State Bar Association (NSBA) study the current judicial district boundaries. In response to this request, the NSBA established the Judicial Structure and Administration Task Force (Task Force). The NSBA Judicial Resources Committee formed the core of the Task Force with additional representatives added from the JRC, the Supreme Court, trial courts, and the Legislature. The NSBA contracted with the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center to conduct policy-relevant research and provide administrative support to the Task Force.