Two Nebraska Judges Receive Recognition For Service

Nebraska Chief Justice Mike Heavican, center, presents the Improvement of Community Relations Award to Judge Tom Harmon, left, and the Improvement of the Judicial System Award to Judge Holly Parsley, right, on Oct. 10, 2019. (Courtesy Nebraska Judicial Branch)
Nebraska Judicial Branch

Two Nebraska judges received recognition last month for their contributions to the bench.

Douglas County Judge Thomas Harmon and Lancaster County Judge Holly Parsley were given the Nebraska Supreme Court’s highest honors during an annual meeting Oct. 10 that ran concurrent with the Nebraska State Bar Association’s annual meeting.

Harmon was presented the Improvement of Community Relations Award, and Parsley was given the Improvement of the Judicial System Award by Chief Justice Mike Heavican at the annual Judicial Dinner. 

The awards recognize members of the judiciary for meritorious projects and exemplary accomplishments beyond their day-to-day duties.

Improvement of Community

Relations Award

Harmon has, for many years, served the Douglas County community, as well as the statewide community, through his involvement with the Judge Lyle Strom High School Mock Trial Program.

Since 2012, Harmon has served as the regional coordinator for Mock Trial Regions 11 and 12. In this role, he arranges courtrooms for the regional competition, secures volunteer mock trial judges, conducts the orientation for the judges, and coordinates rounds of competition based on the busy calendars of both the school and the court.

In addition to his work with mock trials, he also serves on the Civil Justice Reform Committee. This is a standing committee under the Access to Justice Commission responsible for analyzing the civil justice system in Nebraska and considering ways for improvement, and the Commission on Children in the Courts, whose purpose is to ensure the courts are as responsive as possible for children who interact with or who are directly affected by the courts.

The Nebraska State Bar Foundation selected Harmon to become a Nebraska State Bar Foundation Fellow in 2015 because of his contribution to the improvement of the legal profession and the administration of justice through the charitable and community education works of the Foundation. He also participated in and completed the Nebraska Supreme Court Judicial Leadership Program (2015-16).

Harmon has authored articles, lectures, and trains in the area of guardianships and conservatorships, probate, and the Nebraska Juvenile Code. 

Improvement of the Judicial

System Award

Parsley is recognized for her leadership serving on the Nebraska Supreme Court Commission on Guardianship and Conservatorship, the Guardian and Conservatorship Forms and Rules Committee, and the Bench-Media Committee.

As a member of the Guardianship and Conservatorship Commission and the Guardian and Conservatorship Forms and Rules Committee, Parsley has shown dedication to making the guardianship and conservatorship process less burdensome while still maintaining accountability to the judicial system. She has worked tirelessly to not only provide updated forms, rules, and procedures that will benefit all guardians and their wards and conservators and their protected persons statewide, but she also goes above and beyond in her courtroom. 

Parsley has developed innovative methods to ensure guardians and conservators have access to the information they need to be successful, including collaborating with other counties and judges in an effort to provide consistency and guidance for those individuals who appear before her. She also shares her knowledge of probate, guardian and conservatorship and adoption with new judges during new judges’ orientation.

Parsley is also a highly valued member of the Bench-Media Committee, having participated in rule-making and teaching journalists as well as fellow judges. She developed sample orders to accompany the launch of the camera rules and continues to work with review committees editing rules.

Parsley is well known for her creative problem-solving skills and forward-thinking when dealing with issues faced by judges.

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