Judge: ‘I wanted this for a long time’

From attorney to magistrate to judge

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY With right had raised District Court Judge Bethany Currie is sworn-in by fellow District Court Judge James Ellefson Friday at Elmwood County Club in Marshalltown. Looking on is spouse Michael Marquess, and their children, James and Lily.

The swearing-in was ceremonial, but the testimonials from peers attesting to District Judge Beth Currie’s legal and personal skills were heartfelt.

“She has hit the ground running,” fellow District Court Judge John Haney said of Currie’s work to date.

Family, friends and members of the Central Iowa legal community packed the local Elmwood Country Club Friday to witness what the legal profession calls an investiture.

“That is what we are here to do today, is to welcome a new judge to the second district,” Haney said.

He presided over the ceremony at Currie’s request.

The event gave Currie’s family – some who traveled from Illinois – friends and colleagues the opportunity to witness the ceremonial swearing-in conducted by fellow District Court Judge James Ellefson.

An additional treat was seeing Currie’s children, Lily and James, joined by her spouse Mike Marquess, helping her put on the judge’s robe.

Officially, Currie had been sworn-in earlier this summer to replace former District Court Judge Michael Moon, who retired.

Her first day of work as judge was June 29.

“It has been exciting, interesting and at times overwhelming,” Currie said, speaking with seven weeks experience. “I have already been assigned a Class A Felony trial in Fort Dodge.”

Currie thanked Gov. Kim Reynolds and a judicial commission made up of five attorneys, five lay people and one judge. The commission picked her as one of two finalists, who interviewed with Reynolds.

Consequently, it was Reynolds who announced Currie’s appointment June 8 to serve Judicial District 2B.

The position covers felony criminal cases and family law cases like divorces and child custody cases, probate matters such as estates and guardianships, among other things, she said.

While thrilled with the appointment, Currie admitted immediately after Reynolds’ announcement it would be difficult to leave the local Peglow, O’Hare and See law firm where she worked 13 years.

She reiterated that Friday afternoon.

“I miss you every day,” she said to her former associates.

Currie received her law degree from Drake University in 2003 and her undergraduate degree from Augustana College in 2000.

She graduated with honors from Augustana, and was in the top five percent of her class at Drake Law School.

With her appointment last year as magistrate, and now as district court judge, she is continuing a family tradition.

Her late maternal grandfather was a well-respected judge in Central Illinois when she was young and was the reason she decided to attend law school.

“I wish he could have been here for this,” she said.

And her father’s cousin was also a judge.

The investiture was originally scheduled for the Grant Courtroom in the Marshall County Courthouse.

However, Elmwood was substituted since the courthouse received extensive damage from the July 19 EF-3 tornado.

It has been closed to the public since.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com