Island County District Court Judge Peter Strow is retiring in March after 16 years on the bench. He reflected this week on those years and how he came to be in the position. - Jessie Stensland/Whidbey News-Times
Island County District Court Judge Peter Strow is retiring in March after 16 years on the bench.
reflected this week on those years and how he
came to be in the position.
will take off his
judge's robe at the end of March and may never put it back on.
Strow surprised many when he
announced earlier this year that he
will retire in the middle of his
He is the elected judge for Island County District Court and also acts as the Municipal Court judge for Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley.
adjudicates misdemeanor crimes and civil matters.
gravelly voice and gruff manner, Strow
was well known on Whidbey Island
16 years on the bench.
Strow noted that no other elected official has as much interaction with the public as he
takes that responsibility seriously.
"It's really important to have a good judge on the bench.
It's incredibly important to the community," he
has a reputation that extends beyond Island County of being good, dependable, reliable and fair.
very bright and intellectually honest," he
just a decent human being and one of my favorite people."
Strow, a Langley resident, said he
decided to retire for several reasons.
At 71, he
getting on in years.
wife both have health concerns.
After 24 years of active duty, Strow retired from the Navy.
He worked for a year as the prosecutor for a regional drug task force in Wenatchee and then went into defense work in Seattle for a year.
Maggie Paczkowski was court administrator for just two years before Strow took the bench.
On the bench, Strow
strives to treat everyone with "the respect they deserve," he
makes sure to have as much information as possible - from criminal backgrounds to records of court hearings - on each defendant who comes before him.
"I've learned that most criminals just want to be listened to," he
On the other hand, Strow
can be impatient, particularly with some of the young attorneys who come before him, said collegues.