Retired state court administrator will receive national award for leadership, innovation during his tenure

(FILE PHOTO) David Boyd, former state court administrator
(FILE PHOTO) David Boyd, former state court administrator

A retired Iowa Judicial Branch state court administrator will receive the National Center for State Courts’ 2017 Warren E. Burger Award this summer for his service, leadership and innovation on court processes over the last 40 years.

David K. Boyd, who retired last September, is receiving the national award, which recognizes an individual, other than a judge, whose work has significantly contributed to improving the administration of the state courts. The award honors a person who has demonstrated professional expertise, leadership, integrity, creativity, innovativeness and sound judgment, according to officials with the National Center for State Courts.

Boyd is being presented the award during a ceremony in August at the annual meeting of the Conference of Chief Justice and the Conference of State Court Administrators.

The award honors former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who was instrumental in founding the National Center for State Courts and its Institute for Court Management, according to the news release. Burger was a staunch supporter of the mission of the national center to improve judicial administration through leadership and service to state courts.

Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady said in his nomination letter that Boyd exemplifies each these qualities.

“For the last 40 years, David has served the Iowa Judicial Branch with honor, integrity, creativity, and passion,” Cady said in the letter.

Boyd was appointed state court administrator May 13, 2003, after serving 19 years as deputy court administrator. Before that role, Boyd was District Court administrator for the 3rd Judicial District from 1977 to 1984.


As the state court administrator, Boyd was the principal administrative officer of the judicial branch and responsible for the day-to-day management of the state court system, which employees about 1,900 people and has a $178 million operating budget.

He also served as executive secretary to the Iowa Commission on Judicial Qualifications and the State Judicial Nominating Commission and the administrator of the Iowa Judicial Retirement System.

Boyd, during an interview with The Gazette last September, pointed out that he had worked for 29 of the 110 justices who have been on the Iowa Supreme Court, including six chief justices.

Cady said last September that Boyd had “expertly” led the court system through a series of “tremendous changes and challenges” to make the system one the most respected in the nation.

Boyd guided the transition from a county-based court system to a statewide unified court system, to directing the implementation of electronic filing, Cady pointed out.

Cady said Boyd had proved himself to be a “strong, well respected leader,” who had been an “invaluable resource” for him and the five previous chief justices.

In 2010, Boyd gained national recognition for his “tireless work to restore public trust and confidence” in the justice system after a contentious statewide election ousted three state supreme court justices over the ruling which legalized same sex marriage.

Boyd has also served as president of the Conference of State Court Administrators and vice-chair of National Center for State Courts’ Board of Directors in 2014 — 2015.

Todd Nuccio was appointed state court administrator in July, following Boyd’s retirement.


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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. It was founded in 1971 by the Conference of Chief Justices and Justice Burger. The center provides education, training, technology, management, and research services to the nation’s state courts.

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