The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) announced Judge Rhonda Hurley of the Travis County, Texas District Courts, 98th District Court, as the Innovator of the Year Award recipient during the 8th annual Justice Innovation Awards ceremony at the NCJFCJ’s 85th Annual Conference. Judge Hurley was recognized for her work and efforts to innovatively rethink, reimagine, and redefine justice for children and families, thus advancing the NCJFCJ’s vision—a society in which every family and child has access to fair, equal, effective, and timely justice.
The Innovator of the Year Award honors an active, in-good-standing NCJFCJ member who has inspired, sponsored, promoted or led an innovation or accomplishment of national significance in juvenile justice, child abuse and neglect, family law, and/or domestic violence.
“Judge Hurley has dreamed, planned, collaborated, researched, and advocated for a strengths-based court system for high-risk youth and their families in an effort to provide a more holistic approach to juvenile justice,” said Sharon Berger, deputy chief of social services, Travis County Juvenile Probation Department. “Our SOAR reentry court program could not be possible without a judge who is 100% invested in evidence-based practices and who carries out those practices in real-time. Judge Hurley is that judge, ten-fold.”
Judge Hurley has served as the chair of the Travis County Juvenile Board since 2013. From 2003-2008, she was the associate judge for the Travis County District Courts. Prior to that, she had her own practice as an attorney at law and mediator. Judge Hurley was an associate attorney for Piper and Powers, L.L.P., assistant district attorney for the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and associate attorney at Kammerman, Overstreet & Hurren. Judge Hurley has served on the Travis County Welfare Board and received the National Certificate of Recognition for Child Advocacy from the American Bar Association. She is also a certified mediator. Judge Hurley received her bachelor of arts degree from Baylor University and her juris doctorate degree from Baylor University School of Law.
The NCJFCJ also honored Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell of the Eighth Judicial District Court of Clark County as the Impact of the Year Award recipient for her dedication to children and families in the state of Nevada.