Judge Janet Berry graduated from California State University at Sacramento with a degree in Criminal Justice and thereafter received her Juris Doctorate from Tulane University . She is admitted to practice law in Louisiana , California , and Nevada . Judge Berry served as a Law Clerk at the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana and at the Nevada Supreme Court before entering the private practice of law with Davenport & Perry. Her private practice experience included trial, appellate, and administrative law. In 1992, she was appointed to the Reno Municipal Court. In 1996, Judge Berry was appointed to the Second Judicial District Court and ran unopposed for a full term in 1997. She was re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014.
Judge Berry was awarded the prestigious Hawkins Foundation Scholarship in 1993 to pursue a Masters Degree in Judicial Studies from the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada , Reno . She received her Masters degree in 1997 after publishing her thesis in the Tulane Law Review. She served as the Chief Judge of the Second Judicial District Court from 2000-2002.
In 1993, Judge Berry received the Truckee Meadows Human Service Award as Politician of the Year. In 1995, she was honored with the Reno Business and Professional Women's Woman of the Year Award. In 2000, Judge Berry was the recipient of the Nevada District Judges Association Distinguished Jurist Education Award and was also presented with a faculty service award from the National Judicial College.
Judge Berry 's judicial colleagues from the State of Nevada elected her to serve as President of the Nevada District Judges Association for the 2000-2001 term. Throughout the 2001 Legislative Session, she worked closely with legislators, fellow Judges, and community leaders on a number of issues important to judges and those whose lives are touched by the court system. In addition to her involvement in the Nevada District Judges Association, Judge Berry has also served on numerous Committees dedicated to improving justice. She has been a member of the State Domestic Violence Task Force, the Nevada State Bar Committee on Lawyer Advertising, the Urban Workload Assessment Commission, the Washoe County Criminal Advisory Committee, the Washoe County Drug Court Advisory Committee, the Nevada Supreme Court Jury Improvement Commission, and the State's Judicial Council.
Judge Berry was a member of the National Judicial College Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2002. Judge Berry has also been a faculty member of the National Judicial College and National Council for Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She speaks at many state and national legal education conferences on varied topics, including jury management, voir dire, domestic violence and its effects upon children, criminal sentencing, community outreach, international judicial education, courts and the media, mental health courts, and medical ethics.
Judge Berry co-hosted a weekly television show from 1994 to 1999 entitled "The Language of Law," which educated the public about the justice system. Judge Berry is a member of the Reno Rotary Club. She is active in the community and has been involved in numerous legal education programs, including "Law Day Live," a television program, which provided free legal information to citizens in celebration of Law Day, and "Coming of Age in Nevada," an educational program for graduating high school students on their legal rights and responsibilities as adults.
In 1994, Judge Berry created the Kids' Court/Ask an Inmate program as a field trip for fifth and sixth grade students. In the years that have followed, hundreds of students throughout the Truckee Meadows have visited Judge Berry 's courtroom to participate in a mock trial in the case of B.B. Wolf v. Curly Pig . The children are assigned roles, complete with costumes. Students and parents have the opportunity to see first hand how jury trials are conducted. The students meet with the Judge and talk about the trial and the American justice system.
Upon completion of the trial, they move into the second phase of the program: Ask an Inmate. This program is an interactive discussion with inmates from the Washoe County Jail who tell the students their life stories and where they made wrong choices. A Deputy of the Washoe County Sheriff's Department moderates the discussion. The questions and answers are often humorous, sad, tough, and poignant. The goal of the program is to teach students about the consequences of peer pressure, the dangers of adolescent drug and alcohol abuse, gang involvement and the importance of making wise decisions.
Students, parents, and teachers consistently report that Kids' Court/Ask an Inmate is one of their favorite and most valuable learning experiences. Since its inception in 1994, more than 150 elementary school classes (approximately 5,000 students and parents) have attended this innovative program.
Judge Berry is a member of the following professional organizations:
American Bar Association
American Judges Association
American Judicature Society
National Association of Women Judges
Nevada Distinct Judges Association
Northern Nevada Women Lawyers
Washoe County Bar Association