Date: June 7, 2001 Contact: Laura Kiernan
Public Information Officer
271-2646 x359




CONCORD—Bernard Hughes, the director of security for the Plymouth District and Family Courts, has been selected to receive a "Spirit of the Judiciary" award for his outstanding contribution to the safe operation of the courts and for the effort he has made to enhance public understanding of how the justice system works.

"The generosity that Bernard Hughes has shown with his time and expertise is an inspiration for all of us," Chief Justice David A. Brock said in announcing the award. "He is a very good example of why I am so proud of all the people who work in our courts," Brock said.

The Chief Justice will present the award to Hughes on June 15th at 10 a.m. during a ceremony at the Plymouth District Court at 26 Green Street.

In addition to his responsibilities as court security officer, Hughes, who retired in 1991 from the Cumberland, R.I. police force as chief of detectives, has provided security at mediation sessions and trained security personnel for the family visitation center. He has attended all the jury trials at Plymouth Teen Court, where he taught teenage participants an understanding and respect for the courts, according to Plymouth District court clerk Diane F. Lane.

"The staff at the Plymouth District Court and Family Division would like to thank Bernie for a safe, fun place to work," Lane said in nominating Hughes for the award. "His work ethic and job performance has built public confidence in our community," she added.

Hughes’ work in teen court is an example of the impact he has had on the community, Lane said. "It has been a positive experience to watch Bernard interact with these teens, always listening to them and encouraging their participation," Lane said in her nomination letter.

Hughes 56, has a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and history from Salve Regina College, in Newport R.I. and he served with the U.S. Army infantry in Vietnam from 1966-67. He and his wife Barbara have a son, Patrick, two daughters, Margaret and Mary and a granddaughter, Sarah.

After his long career as a police officer, Hughes said he enjoys the "neutrality" of working in the courts. "I’m part of the system, and that makes it easy to deal with people" on both sides, Hughes said. His work in Plymouth has unexpectedly developed into a second career, he said.

In nominating Hughes for the Spirit of the Judiciary award, his co-workers cited his professionalism, along with his now "famous" tours of the courthouse, which include a touch of history, judicial procedure and humor. As part of an effort called "Project Harmony," Hughes hosted visiting Russian law enforcement officers who wanted to learn about domestic violence issues. He regularly visits middle schools to talk about the courts and he participates in high school career days.

In the courthouse, clerk Lane said, Hughes is supportive and protective, and is always ready with a joke or even a song, during times of stress.

"He just really likes people and cares about them," Lane said, " He likes to have the court feel like they are one big team, working together," she added.

The Spirit of the Judiciary Award, which was established in 1999 by Chief Justice Brock, is awarded each month to recognize outstanding public service within the Judicial Branch.