6 people apply to be on Nebraska Supreme Court

LINCOLN — A Douglas County District Court judge is among six applicants to replace Judge John Wright on the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Wright, the senior member of the court, died in March after a long fight with cancer. He served 24 years on the Supreme Court.

The applicants to replace Wright include several people with judicial experience like Douglas County District Judge Leigh Ann Retelsdorf, who has served on the District Court bench since 2009 after spending 22 years with the Douglas County Attorney’s Office.

Lancaster County Court Judge John Freudenberg also applied to join the state’s highest court. He’s been a judge since 2017. Before becoming a judge, Freudenberg was the criminal bureau chief at the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.

And District Court Judge James E. Doyle IV also applied. He has presided over the 11th Judicial District since 2001.

The other applicants are:

» Melodie Bellamy, Kearney County attorney.

» Ryan Carson, an attorney with Jacobsen Orr law firm.

» Joe Stecher, who served as the U.S. attorney for Nebraska from 2007 to 2009. He now practices law in Harrison, in far northwest Nebraska, where he also serves as a deputy county attorney for Sioux County.

Gov. Pete Ricketts will appoint a new judge from a pool of finalists picked by the Judicial Nominating Commission. The commission will hold a public hearing at the Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte at 10 a.m. on May 10.

Earlier this year, Ricketts appointed Jonathan Papik to the seven-member court. Papik replaces former Judge Max Kelch.

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