Gage County’s recently-appointed District Court Judge is ready to serve.

It was announced in early June that Gov. Pete Ricketts has appointed Rick Schreiner, then Gage County’s Chief Deputy Attorney, to serve as a District Court judge in the First Judicial District Court of Nebraska.

A swearing-in ceremony was held Thursday for Schreiner, who has been hearing cases since late last week.

He said the transition is a quick one, and he’s eager to serve as the area’s newest judge.

“I’m coming in now with a lot of legal experience, but experience with the bench is a completely different thing,” Schreiner said. “You can look at it from the outside and imagine what it’s like, but until you put that robe on you really have no idea what it’s like.”

Schreiner serves over the First Judicial District, consisting of Clay, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Johnson, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Pawnee, Richardson, Saline and Thayer counties. The primary place of office for the judicial vacancy is in Gage County.

The district has three District Court judges and three County Court judges.

Schreiner is replacing Judge Paul Korslund, who left his position this year after more than 20 years on the bench.

“I had the occasion to observe him after he came to Gage County and I was very impressed with him,” Korslund said at the ceremony. “Judge Schreiner has a commitment to justice. As a prosecutor he did not just seek convictions. He sought to do justice. He can be tough and he can also be compassionate. He can make difficult decisions.”

Schreiner said he plans to continue Korslund’s reputation of being a fair judge, while making tough decisions.

“I hope to make the court a comfortable place for people to come with their experience,” he said. “People that end up in this courtroom are having a bad day. I don’t want to make it worse, that’s my goal. I’m sure I will on occasion, it’s just the nature of the job.”

Schreiner was one of two candidates submitted to the governor by the Judicial Nominating Committee for consideration after six candidates each gave a 10-minute presentation detailing why they should be considered.

He served as the chief deputy attorney for Gage County since 2007. His work has included mental health, juvenile court, drug court and prosecution of felony and misdemeanor matters, among other areas.

Schreiner will not preside over cases he was involved in through the County Attorney’s office, so it will likely be some time before he has a regular schedule in Gage County.

“We’ll play it by ear until enough time has gone by to clear the conflicts,” he said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be of service and appreciate the trust that the bar association and governor place in me.”

Schreiner previously worked in private practice at Fankhauser, Nelsen & Werts, P.C. in Nebraska City.

He served as a police officer at the Nebraska City Police Department and sheriff’s deputy at the Otoe County Sheriff’s Department.

Schreiner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Management from LaSalle University and a Juris Doctor from Creighton University School of Law.

Reach Scott Koperski at scott.koperski@beatricedailysun.com. Follow him on Twitter @ScottKoperski.

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