Lorri Montgomery
Director of Communications
National Center for State Courts

Utah judge receives NCSC’s Distinguished Service Award

Retired judge honored for dependency court improvement efforts

Williamsburg, Va. (October 6, 2016) -- Judge William A. Thorne, Jr. (ret.) Utah Court of Appeals, is the recipient of the National Center for State Courts' (NCSC) 2016 Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest awards presented by the organization. The Distinguished Service Award is presented annually to those who have made significant contributions to the justice system and who have supported the mission of NCSC.

“Judge Thorne is a passionate judicial champion for improving outcomes for children and families in the court system,” said NCSC President Mary C. McQueen. “NCSC is fortunate to benefit from the long-standing experience Judge Thorne brings from his 30-years-experience as a state court trial judge, tribal judge, and state court appellate judge.”

Judge Thorne worked with NCSC on the Judicial Engagement Project that focused on how to safely reduce the number of children in foster care through improved court policy and practice. Judge Thorne also assisted NCSC’s work with the Annie E. Casey Foundation on Every Kid Deserves a Family Initiative. As a result of that collaboration, a judicial guidebook is being produced to help judges make better placement decisions and reduce the placement of foster youth in group homes.

Judge Thorne, Jr. was appointed to the Utah Court of Appeals in 2000. He retired in September of 2013. He was a judge in the Third Circuit Court for eight years, followed by six years in the Third District Court.

Judge Thorne received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Santa Clara in 1974 and a Juris Doctorate from Stanford Law School in 1977.

NCSC presents six Distinguished Service awards annually to those who have made significant contributions to the court system and to the work of the NCSC. The awards recognize one person from each of the following categories: current or former state appellate judge; current of former state trial judge; state-level court administrator or employee; trial-level court administrator or employee; attorney or other individual not employed by the courts; and current or former international judge or court executive.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., is a nonprofit court organization dedicated to improving the administration of justice by providing leadership and service to the state courts. Founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger, NCSC provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.


National Center for State Courts, 300 Newport Avenue, Williamsburg, VA  23185-4147