6 people, including Douglas County District Court judge, 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 three people with judicial experience. They are:

» 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, who has been a judge since 2017. Before becoming a judge, Freudenberg was the criminal bureau chief in the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.

» District Judge James E. Doyle IV, who joined southwest Nebraska’s 11th Judicial District Court in 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 replaced former Judge Max Kelch.