CHEYENNE – The Wyoming State Bar and the Wyoming Supreme Court are pleased to announce that the Honorable John R. Perry, retired District Court judge for the Sixth Judicial District, is this year’s recipient of the Larry L. Lehman Award for Judicial Excellence. The award was presented at this year’s Annual Meeting & Judicial Conference in Laramie, Wyoming, by Chief Justice Kate Fox.

After serving as a highly respected District Court judge in Campbell County for 21 years, Judge Perry was not content after his retirement in 2022 to ride his Lazy Boy. Instead, he has been active as a mentor to district court judges around the state, conducts mediations, and has filled in for sitting judges when they have had conflicts or needed relief because of illness or need for time off. His greatest contribution to the Wyoming Judicial Branch, however, has been as Chairman of the Judicial Branch Innovation (JBI) Task Force, which has met nearly monthly throughout 2022 and 2023. The JBI’s charge was to take a fresh look at how the Judicial Branch functions and how it could be done better, to achieve greater job satisfaction for judges and employees, and to deliver more prompt, timely, and cost-effective resolution of legal disputes for Wyoming citizens.

As a result of the JBI’s work, the branch governance structure has been reorganized to provide for greater participation by all judges, it has adopted a mission statement and strategic plan to guide its decisions, and it is launching two pilot programs to address some of the judiciary’s greatest challenges—a court navigator to assist self-represented litigants, and a behavioral health diversion project to better utilize State resources for criminal defendants with behavioral health needs. Judge Perry’s leadership on the JBI is moving the Wyoming Judicial Branch forward in numerous respects, which will be felt for years to come.

The Lehman Award is given in memory of Justice Lehman, who died in 2004, and who is remembered for his tireless efforts to improve the operation of the court system and to provide greater access to justice for all Wyoming citizens.

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