A packed courthouse gave attorney Chris Doehle a standing ovation as she took the oath of office Wednesday afternoon to become Del Norte County’s first female Superior Court judge.
Judge William Follett administers the oath of office to Chris Doehle on Wednesday afternoon. Del Norte Triplicate / Bryant Anderson
Doehle joins Judge William Follett as the second of Del Norte County’s two magistrates. Follett administered the oath of office to Doehle at the Del Norte County Courthouse.
“”I’m so overwhelmed with happiness, excitement and fear,” Doehle said after being sworn in. “It’s been a long road.”
Doehle, a registered Democrat appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, has been in private practice since 1995 and has a background in juvenile dependency and family law. After taking the oath of office, she thanked all the people who supported her with letters and phone calls throughout the judge selection process, which took a year.
“I’m hoping all of you will continue to help and be there in support,” Doehle said. “I have a lot to learn. I feel like I have so many shoes to fill and I feel like everyone’s been so welcoming.”
The courthouse has been shuffling judges in and out who were willing to temporarily fill the empty bench left by Robert Weir, who retired last year. Weir, who attended Doehle’s swearing-in ceremony, said she will be joining a hard-working bar of attorneys as Del Norte County judge and wished her luck.
“You’ll find this is going to be a wonderful experience,” Weir said. “I’m confident and honored to have you following next in line.”
Doehle was an associate attorney at Harland Law Firm for five years before starting her own practice. She received her law degree from the University of Washington and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon.
Other local attorneys who applied for the judgeship included Darren McElfresh and Bob Cochran.