Distinguished Judge Awards are presented annually to recognize members of the judiciary for meritorious projects and exemplary accomplishments.
Judge Paine earned the Distinguished Judge for Service to the Judiciary Award for her many innovative projects, the most recent being a pilot project to improve compliance with court ordered financial obligations for probationers in criminal cases. Working with Supreme Court staff and the National Center for State Courts, Paine involved her fellow judges and local court employees in designing an automated text message and email system to notify offenders of upcoming payment obligations and court dates.
Previously, just after the start of her judicial career, Judge Paine was also presented the 2009 Child Champion Award at the Nebraska Children's Summit. The award recognized Judge Paine as an individual with particular dedication and service in improving the court system for children.
Judge Paine currently serves on the Supreme Court Commission on Children in the Courts and the Juvenile Case Progression Standards Committee. She is Lead Judge for the 11th Judicial District Eyes of the Child Team -- 3, and serves on the "Centralization" Subcommittee of the Nebraska Court System Reengineering Committee.
Earlier in October, in recognition of projects relating to Judge Paine's court collection project, Clerk Magistrates Linda Smith of the Hitchcock County Court in Trenton, and Deborah League of the Dundy County Court in Benkelman, were co-presented with the Supreme Court's Innovation Award. The annual Innovation Award recognizes employees for their contribution to the effectiveness, efficiency or economy of the operation of the Nebraska Judicial System.
Smith and League were commended for having gone "above and beyond" to help improve the court system. Both clerk magistrates dedicated a considerable amount of time in their efforts to facilitate a pilot project for the collection of fines and costs. Both worked with the National Center for State Courts staff, judges, and Supreme Court staff learning the texting and email features used to monitor payments of fines, costs, and fees for the numerous courts in the 11th district.
In presenting each of the awards, Chief Justice Heavican thanked the clerk magistrates and their judges for their dedication to the legal profession and to the community.