A longtime Columbus attorney is among the three finalists being considered by Gov. Pete Ricketts as the possible replacement for an opening on the district court bench for the 11-county Fifth Judicial District.
“I appreciate the Judicial Nomination Commission having the confidence to name me as one of the finalists qualified to serve in that role,” Jason Mielak said on Friday morning of being considered to replace Judge Mary C. Gilbride, who retired April 30.
Mielak is being considered alongside Colfax County Attorney Denise Kracl of Schuyler and Seward County Public Defender Christina Arroquin of Seward. The Columbus man, who is a partner at Fehringer & Mielak LLP in town, said the other two nominees up for the district judge vacancy are also “well-respected” by the commission members for the judgeship role.
The Fifth Judicial District is made up of Boone, Butler, Colfax, Hamilton, Merrick, Nance, Platte, Polk, Saunders, Seward and York counties. The primary place of residence for the judicial vacancy will be either Schuyler or Wahoo.
The 47-year-old Mielak, a native of Columbus and a graduate of Scotus Central Catholic, returned home after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and UNL School of Law in 1996.
“I joined a local practice,” Mielak said.
He and his partners are at 3919 25th St.
“I’ve been there now 20-plus years,” said Mielak, who describes his legal career as a general civil practice involving civil trials and appeals, business and commercial litigation, will contests and trust disputes, estate and trust litigation, corporate and banking law and landlord and tenant law.
Mielak has done some criminal defense work, primarily early on from court appointments, but said he prefers representing the interests of abused and neglected children through appointments to the juvenile court system.
The attorney and his wife, Lynn, have raised two daughters in Columbus, Hannah, 19, and Allie, 16, said he feels the juvenile system offers a better opportunity to advocate for the best interests of children.
He’s currently hitting the books on the district court filings in three of the counties in the judicial district.
In 2017, Colfax County had 45 criminal filings and 115 civil filings in district court, while Butler County had 65 criminal filings and 75 civil filings.
District court filings in Saunders County were double the totals in Butler and Colfax counties. There were 140 district filings and 245 civil filings in Saunders County district court during all of 2017.
Mielak is a member of the Platte County Bar Association, Nebraska Bar Association and the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys (board, 2003-2006).
Jim Osborn is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.