Judge Elizabeth Crnkovich

Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Crnkovich

A longtime juvenile court judge in Omaha facing criticism and a judicial inquiry for kicking three attorneys out of her courtroom earlier this year has retired.

Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Elizabeth Crnkovich submitted her resignation letter to Gov. Pete Ricketts on Friday, saying it had been her "honor and privilege to serve the children and families in Douglas County for almost 25 years!"

Her last day was Wednesday.

The Omaha World-Herald reported that Crnkovich, 65, was facing a judicial qualifications investigation for booting the attorneys — Kristina Murphree, Karen Nelson and Mark Hanna — from her courtroom during a child-custody case in March, and told them again to leave after they all asked to stay and watch from the gallery.

With rare exceptions, Nebraska court hearings, including juvenile hearings, are public.

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It wasn't the first time Crnkovich had faced criticism for removing people from her courtroom.

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The World-Herald said three years ago she had kicked out a citizen watchdog group for allegedly being disruptive; and 10 years ago she had a defense attorney taken out of her courtroom in handcuffs after he argued with her.

Crnkovich had been a judge since 1995 and had worked in the juvenile division of the Douglas County Attorney's Office before that.

The Judicial Resources Commission will meet to examine workload and determine whether to replace Crnkovich on the bench.


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