Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Oct. 27, 2021

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Bartlett takes oath to become Clark County District Court judge

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
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District Court Judge Abigail Bartlett waits to be sworn in at the Clark County Courthouse on Thursday afternoon. She began her career in Clark County at the prosecutor's office before becoming a District Court commissioner in 2017.
District Court Judge Abigail Bartlett waits to be sworn in at the Clark County Courthouse on Thursday afternoon. She began her career in Clark County at the prosecutor's office before becoming a District Court commissioner in 2017. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Abigail Bartlett was sworn in Thursday afternoon as Clark County District Court’s Department 6 judge.

The Clark County Council appointed Bartlett to the seat that had been held by Judge John Hagensen since the position was created in 2005. Hagensen retired June 30.

District Court Judge Sonya Langsdorf presided over Bartlett’s oath of office in front of a courtroom full of Bartlett’s family, colleagues and other elected officials — some of whom attended virtually.

“Abbie has shown herself through her actions to me personally, to be trustworthy, dependable, helpful, authentic, gracious, humble and kind — a person of integrity,” Langsdorf said. “We’re excited about the qualities that you’re going to bring to the court as a judge, and congratulations.”

Bartlett had served as a District Court commissioner since July 2017 and, before that, was a senior deputy prosecutor with the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

“I am here because 4½ years ago, the District Court bench gave me the opportunity to be a commissioner in this court,” Bartlett said, cloaked in the black judicial robe. “Every judge here has been a mentor and role model for me, and I’m so proud to be a part of this court.”

While Bartlett was a prosecutor, she was a team leader in the juvenile unit and unit coordinator for the Elder Justice Center. She received a bachelor’s degree in international studies from the University of Washington and juris doctor from Seattle University.

Bartlett recounted taking the train from Seattle to her interview at the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office 16 years ago and said, “I was hooked on Clark County.”

She described the experience she gained during her time with the juvenile unit.

“I learned not only about accountability but about rehabilitation, about restorative justice,” she said. “I really saw that there was a family behind every court participant and that while we may be limited in what we can do, we can never forget that what’s in front of us in court is just a snapshot, and there’s a much bigger picture behind it.”

Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik spoke at the ceremony and described Bartlett as “clearly a leader” during her years in the prosecutor’s office.

He described her as a “cornerstone” of restructuring mental health court in the county to allow those facing felony charges to participate and the opportunity to get criminal charges dismissed.

“I think a lot of good has been done because of Abbie’s work there but that work that she did is, I think, just exemplary of the sort of work that we have seen over the years from her,” he said. “She brings people together. She works with stakeholders, and she lifts everybody up to do better work. That’s the sort of person that she is.”

Beyond her resume, Golik described her as compassionate.

“The thing that I think that I have realized is so important about Abbie is she just has a good heart. She cares about people. And I think it’s that combination that is going make Abbie Bartlett a fine judge for our community.”

Bartlett closed the ceremony by thanking everyone “for giving me this opportunity to serve you.”

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