New Nebraska Supreme Court Judge credits hometown for his success

NEBRASKA CITY, NE – Honorable Jeffrey Funke hasn’t forgotten where he’s come from. In fact, he and his family still call Nebraska City “home.”

The youngest judge on Nebraska’s Supreme Court was born and raised in Nebraska City and he told Rotary members Wednesday, this is the place that formed who he is today.

“Practice and represent people you care about. Then take the bench and become a judge. To be able to do all that while still living in Nebraska City and having that grounding effect is nice. People say, ‘what keeps you humble?’ I think it’s where you’re from and who you know. That’s a big deal, having a good family and good friends around you.”

According to Funke, the town of 7,255 people taught him how to be a parent, a spouse, and taught him how to be an attorney and a judge. He and his wife continue to reside in Nebraska City and their three children attend Lourdes Central Catholic.

The 5th Judicial District Judge credits the people he has met in Nebraska City for giving him the base for what he gets to do today. Attorneys Bill Davis and Richard Hoch helped advise Funke on how to prepare for court, how to appear in court, how to treat clients and opposing council, and how to act toward the court.

Nebraska Supreme Court judges handle three to four cases a month and Funke says the most interesting cases recently have been rescinding juvenile offenders convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. They are looking into how those cases should be considered under new constitutional rules from the Nebraska Supreme Court.

Funke was sworn in on Aug. 6 and his district covers southeast Nebraska to south-central Nebraska, excluding Lincoln and Omaha.