If the Nebraska Supreme Court and Court of Appeals are the big leagues, Judge Jeffrey J. Funke will soon be joining a Triple-AAA affiliate.
Gov. Dave Heineman announced last Wednesday that Funke, a Nebraska City native, will join the District Court for the 2nd Judicial District, representing Sarpy, Cass and Otoe counties.
Funke will replace former Judge Randall L. Rehmeier on the bench, serving primarily in Plattsmouth.
As a Sarpy County judge, Funke, 44, currently handles about 9,900 cases per year involving a mix of civil litigation, domestic disputes, criminal and traffic offenses and probate matters.
Prior to serving as a judge, he was an attorney at Nelsen Law for three years and at the firm of Hoch, Funke & Kelch for 10 years. He previously served as deputy Otoe County public defender for three years, and he has been a deputy county attorney and county attorney in Otoe County.
“I am honored by the confidence Gov. Heineman has placed in me by this appointment to the district court bench,” Funke said in a press release issued by the govenor's office.
“I am also humbled by the support I have received from my family, members of the Nebraska Bar Association and the citizens of the 2nd Judicial District.
“I will strive to uphold the high judicial standards set by Judge Rehmeier.”
Funke has been active in both the legal and local communities.
He is an instructor at new judge orientation and the secretary of the County Judges Association. In addition, he judges mock trial competitions, assists in the organization and participation of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation Law Day for Otoe County, judged the American Legion State Oratorical Competition and presents annually during the American Legion County Government Day in Sarpy County.
In the community, Funke served as a member of the board of directors for St. Mary's Community Hospital, Morton James Public Library Foundation, Nebraska City Airport Authority and Friends of Arbor Lodge Foundation.
By selecting Funke, Heineman passed up Stefanie A. Martinez of Omaha, a team lead deputy county attorney for the Sarpy County Attorney's Criminal Division, and George A. Thompson, a deputy county attorney for Douglas County and the son of the former Sarpy County Court judge of the same name.
A total of 11 people applied for the open post after only Funke and Hugh I. Abrahamson of Bellevue initially expressed interest. The Judicial Nominating Commission selected Funke, Martinez and Thompson as the finalists for the judgeship.