JMI Awards

JMI currently gives two different awards to recognize those in the justice community who make exceptional strides in justice system improvement. The Board of Directors select recipients who exemplify the JMI mission to think, inspire, and change.

The Award of Excellence in Justice System Innovation and Improvement

The Award of Excellence in Justice System Innovation and Improvement is awarded to an individual or collaborating group of people who have taken innovative approaches to improve specific areas of the justice system in which they work. Past recipients have included:

The Idaho Supreme Court, for enhancing access to justice and improving the delivery of court services in rural areas through sound administrative practices and innovative use of modern technology (2009).

Hon. Larry Long and Attorney General of South Dakota Marty Jackley, for enhancing public safety and improving the administration of justice through the innovative 24/7 Sobriety Program (2013).

Barry Mahoney, Ph.D., for his decades of research, education, and technical assistance aimed at improving justice system practices (2014).

The Ernest C. Friesen Award

The Ernest C. Friesen Award is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated vision, leadership, and sustained commitment to the achievement of excellence in the administration of justice. Recipients of the Friesen award feature at least six common traits:

  • They are teachers.
  • They are innovators.
  • They are leaders.
  • They have the courage to take risks.
  • They have high expectations for their profession,
  • and they are passionate about what they do.

Ernie Friesen exemplified a passion for justice and a dedication to improving the leadership and management of courts. Throughout his career, Ernie has brought his talent as an attorney and educator to many different areas of the justice system. He has served as Dean and Professor at the California Western School of Law in San Diego, California, the first Executive Director of the Institute for Court Management, the first Dean of The National Judicial College, and a Director of the United States Administrative Office of the Courts, among other positions. He also co-authored the first major text on court administration, titled “Managing the Courts.”

“Ernie’s work on court and justice system improvement began in the early 1960s.  He was really a pioneer in thinking about court improvement issues (especially with respect to case processing), he was a great and innovative teacher, and he has been enormously influential over the years.”Barry Mahoney
Ernie began as an early and astute analyst of problems of court delay and caseflow management in the courts in the early 1960s, well before the organizations that focus on these issues that exist today.  The award was named for Ernie because, more than anyone else active in court management in the last half of the twentieth century, he epitomized a enthusiasm for justice combined with keen observation and analytic ability, extraordinary skills as a teacher, and a sustained commitment to improving the leadership and management of courts as an essential foundation for enabling justice to be done in individual cases.


Click here to view the past recipients of the Ernest C. Friesen Award.

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