Three Judges Honored by Nebraska State Bar Foundation for Exemplary Service

Three Judges Honored by Nebraska State Bar Foundation for Exemplary Service

The Nebraska State Bar Foundation recently celebrated the outstanding contributions of three Nebraska judges during its annual Fellows Dinner in Omaha. District Court Judge Shelly Stratman and County Court Judge Sheryl Lohaus were recognized for their exceptional public service, while retired Judge John Colborn was honored with a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. The event, held on March 9, 2024, served as a meaningful occasion to highlight the dedication and commitment of the three judges to the legal community.

Lifetime Achievement in Service: Judge John Colborn

Retired Judge John Colborn received the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award, a testament to his enduring commitment to the legal profession and the community. In a tribute during the ceremony, Foundation Fellow Robert Bartle underscored Colborn's unwavering dedication to Nebraska's Problem-Solving Court community beginning with his work as Deputy County Attorney to secure funding for the Lancaster County Adult Drug Court. Bartle continued to outline Colborn’s career from the establishment of the Lancaster Veteran’s Treatment Court, the launch celebration DUI Court, and his ongoing work with problem-solving courts in Lancaster County.

Remarking on another passion project of Colborn, Bartle noted, “The Bar Foundation was most fortunate to have Judge Colborn serve as a High School Mock Trial Coordinator for 19 years along with Judge Laurie Yardley. Doris [Huffman, Executive Director of the Bar Foundation] tells me he had his own system that was a ‘well-oiled’ machine for coordinating the regional trials.”

Throughout his career, Colborn has left an indelible mark, embodying the values of integrity, compassion, community education, and justice as a lifetime supporter of the Foundation’s High School Mock Trial program, and champion of Nebraska’s Problem-Solving Courts.

Exemplary Public Service: Judges Shelly Stratman and Sheryl Lohaus

District Court Judge Shelly Stratman and County Court Judge Sheryl Lohaus were honored with the Foundation’s Public Service Award for their remarkable contributions during the challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Judge Marcie Keim, in her introduction, recounted the pivotal role played by these judges, “As presiding judges for the Douglas County District Court and Douglas County Court, Judges Stratman and Lohaus demonstrated exceptional leadership in the face of unprecedented adversity and were instrumental in spearheading a collaborative response to maintain court operations and access to justice. Keim continued, “They worked tirelessly together to establish and coordinate protocols that were instrumental in providing safe and accessible avenues for citizens, attorneys, media, and other court users. This collaboration enabled the courts to function as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”

The Bar Foundation's recognition of Stratman and Lohaus is a celebration of their exemplary service that has had a profound impact on the legal community and the citizens of Douglas County.

In honoring Judges Shelly Stratman, Sheryl Lohaus, and John Colborn, the Foundation not only acknowledges their individual achievements but also pays tribute to the enduring legacy of excellence within the Nebraska legal system. Their contributions serve as a reminder of the profound difference that dedicated judges and legal professionals can make in the lives of others.

Headquartered in Lincoln, the Bar Foundation is dedicated to serving the citizens of Nebraska and the legal profession through the administration and funding of innovative programs directed at the improvement of the administration of justice and the fulfillment of the American vision of equal justice for all.

March 8, 2024 | Nebraska State Bar Foundation

Photo: Judge Sheryl Lohaus, Omaha; retired Judge John Colborn, Lincoln; Nebraska State Bar Foundation Sharon Kresha; Judge Shelly Stratman, Omaha, attending the Bar Foundation awards dinner at the Holland Center in Omaha.