Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Continue the legacy


July 26, 2018 | View PDF

Whitman County District Court has been fortunate to have two outstanding judges for the past 35 years, Judge Douglas Robinson and Judge David Frazier. As the District Court administrator, I worked alongside both of these remarkable judges.

John Hart would continue this legacy as the Whitman County District Court judge.

As Whitman County District Court administrator for the past 34 years, I am very familiar with all of the candidates running for Whitman County District Court judge. Personally, I like each of them, but John Hart is by far the most qualified. He has served as the Colfax Municipal Court judge for the past six years. In addition, he has served numerous hours as pro tem judge for the district court over the last five-plus years hearing criminal, civil, small claims, protection order petitions and infraction cases. He has proven himself to be a patient, courteous and dignified jurist. He treats all who appear before him with respect and listens patiently to each individual. When sentencing criminal defendants, Judge Hart fashions a sentence that’s both fair and holds the individual accountable for his/her actions and if the case warrants it, takes into account any public safety issues. In civil cases, he carefully listens to each party’s testimony and thoroughly reviews the evidence presented before rendering a just decision.

Mr. Rembert’s supporters have been publicizing that 37-40 percent of district court activity is civil in nature, excluding infractions. That estimate is incorrect. According to the Washington State Courts 2017 caseload statistics, there were 505 civil cases and 95 small claim cases filed last year which calculates to be 7.6 percent of Whitman County District Court’s filings. Of those filings, there were only 15 small claims trials, just two civil trials and only 26 miscellaneous civil hearings the entire year. Protection order petitions are also civil, of which there were 85 in 2017. Compared to 3,637 other types of hearings and trials held, civil is an extremely small percentage of Whitman County District Court’s activity.

Regardless, John Hart is the only candidate who has presided as judge over the entire range of cases heard in the district court. The caseload reports are available at http://www.courts.wa.gov for public review.

--Marlynn Markley, Colfax


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