County Court Judge Russell Harford to Retire August 31

County Court Judge Russell Harford to Retire August 31

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Judge of the 12th Judicial District County Court, Russell W. Harford, is retiring at the close of business on August 31, 2022. Harford, of Chadron, was joined the bench in 2009.

In his letter to the Governor and Chief Justice, Harford noted, “It has been both a privilege and pleasure to serve in this [judicial] capacity for the past 13 years. I was fortunate to have served with other dedicated judges and court staff in each of the counties in the 12th Judicial District and across the state.”  He continued, “I started my work career in public service in Nebraska as a Nebraska State Patrol trooper in 1975 and am ending my public service career as a county court judge.”

Harford is the lead judge for the 12th Judicial District Through the Eyes of the Child - Team 1, where he organizes a multidisciplinary team of individuals who work with juveniles to improve court systems and processes for children.

Harford was awarded the Distinguished Judge for Service to the Community Award in 2016. The award is the highest honor given by the Chief Justice. Harford was recognized for his commitment to the community and leadership in attracting young lawyers to Western Nebraska. He was congratulated for his particular interest in working with students at the high school and college levels, noting that he regularly opens his courtroom doors to students and encourages them to the legal system in person. Similarly, he mentors young lawyers, probation officers, and court staff in the legal process and courtroom procedure. He has developed his courtroom into a welcome training ground for all who visit.

He served on the original Nebraska Supreme Court Committee on Self-Represented Litigation, where he participated in developing the group’s first strategic plan.

He currently serves on the County Court Forms Committee, designing and approving forms to be used by county judges and court customers throughout the state. 

After taking the bench in 2009, Harford has been regularly retained in his judicial position by area voters, most recently in 2018. 

The first step in replacing Harford will be for the Judicial Resources Commission to call a meeting to determine whether, based on judicial workload statistics, his retirement creates a judicial vacancy on the county court bench for the 12th Judicial District.

News Reporters:

Judge Harford’s judicial biography

Replacing a Judge in the Nebraska Trial Court System