Update: Three Nominated to be GI's Next Judge


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    By Steve White swhite@nebraska.tv

    Six lawyers who are used to arguing cases before a judge today made the case that they should be the area's next judge.

    And from that pool, a committee has nominated three to be interviewed by the governor, who will make the final decision.

    The nominees are Jerom Janulewicz and Arthur Wetzel of Grand Island and Denise D. Myers of Cairo.

    The Governor will schedule interviews with nominees in the coming weeks and make his selection.

    Judge David Bush retired this spring in Grand Island. On Wednesday, applicants were given ten minutes each at a public hearing.

    All of the applicants have been lawyers in the local area.

    Former Hall County Attorney Jerry Janulewicz was chosen by random order to speak first. He outlined his career, which started as a foster care case worker. He didn't plan on being a lawyer, but went to law school and has worked as a prosecutor and private practice defense lawyer. He has worked with the drug court, and has civil law experience.

    Denise Myers of Cairo said her parents were teachers at Centura Public Schools and she said working with clients in Cairo, Boelus, and Wood River has given her diverse legal experience. She said her demeanor would serve her well as a judge.

    Gail VerMaas is the senior prosecutor in the Hall County Attorney's office. She previously served in the district attorney's office in Memphis, TN. She said she values hard work and promptness. She outlined her extensive criminal workload, including many complex cases.

    Stacy R. Nonhof called herself "the baby of the group" at age 32 but said if chosen, she would serve for 30 years or longer. She said she was young in age only and consulted with Judge Bush before seeking his seat, calling Bush "one of my idols."

    Art Wetzel grew up in Grand Island and worked for a few years as a prosecutor in Hastings before going into private practice in Grand Island. He cited his lengthy history with juvenile and criminal cases, as well as experience with a large collection agency. He has served as a United Way board member and baseball coach and head of the Criminal Defense Attorney's Association.

    Meredith Peterson resides in Pinedale, Wyoming, but said she is "no carpetbagger." She has family in Columbus and Lincoln and previously worked in Hastings in the Adams County Attorney's office. She is currently a magistrate judge in Wyoming, but would like to be back in Nebraska where her family is from, especially with health concerns in the family. She cited the death of a Hastings College student killed by a drunk driver as one of the toughest she ever prosecuted.

    The nominating panel then met in the jury room to deliberate over the candidates. They had to give an up or down vote on each. Those receiving at least five yes votes were nominated to the governor.

    The governor's office will contact the applicants by email and arrange interviews.

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