Nebraska District Court Judge James E. Doyle, IV was honored Thursday with one of the nation’s top judicial awards.

Doyle received the 28th annual William H. Rehnquist Award for judicial excellence in a presentation at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Doyle retired from the bench in August. He served west-central Nebraska from his primary court in Lexington, the Dawson County seat.

Chief U.S. Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., presented the award in front of about 200 honored guests and dignitaries. In his remarks, Roberts spoke of Rehnquist’s devotion to his family and shared examples of his humility.

Doyle received the award for exemplifying those characteristics. He established the first rural drug court in 2006 and was the chairman of the Nebraska Supreme Court’s committee on problem-solving courts, aka drug courts. Under Doyle’s guidance, problem-solving courts were established in every judicial district in Nebraska.

Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican introduced Doyle and spoke of his contributions to the justice system, which included improving interpreter services, establishing the problem-solving courts, and increasing public and media access to live court proceedings.

“Judge Doyle responded to challenges by utilizing technology and implementing new ideas to find better ways to provide justice to court users,” Heavican said. “He was always mindful of the need to provide judicial resources where most needed.”

Doyle spoke of his efforts to increase resources for people in rural Nebraska. He said two participants inspired him to improve probation services and expand drug treatment and mental health courts across Nebraska.

“The problem-solving court programs not only restore individuals to purposeful and meaningful lives, the programs build and strengthen communities where the programs are operated,” he said.

The Rehnquist award is one of the highest judicial recognitions in the country, honoring a state court judge who demonstrates the outstanding qualities of judicial excellence, including integrity, fairness, open-mindedness, knowledge of the law, professional ethics, creativity, sound judgment, intellectual courage and decisiveness.

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