Three locals run for judge position

All served as substitute judges, have community ties

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

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Longtime Whitman County District Court Judge Doug Robinson will not be not be running for re-election this fall, and three local attorneys have announced candidacy for the position. They are John Hart, Dan LeBeau and Rob Rembert.

John Hart

John Hart has been the Colfax Municipal Court Judge since November 2012. He rules on criminal misdemeanor and traffic cases that occur in Colfax. He also runs his own legal practice out of an office in Pullman, where he has handled criminal and traffic litigation since 2004.


Since graduating from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2000, he has served as pro tem judge, or substitute judge, with the Whitman County District Court, as well as a court commissioner pro tem for the Whitman County Superior Court.

Hart said his time serving under Robinson and his desire to help others sparked his interest in the open seat.

“What I think often gets lost in the practice of law,” he said, “is that the people attracted to this type of work want to help people be in a better position than when they arrive in front of them.”

Hart said he wants to take the time to make sure people understand the process and decisions the judge makes, adding that judges need to think about the impact their decisions can have on people.

He said he would emphasize open access to the court, as well as technological renovation.

“Our courts need a heavy technology overhaul and upgrade, and we are in the process of doing that,” he said.

Hart is a member of several Washington District and Municipal Court Judges’ Association committees, including the Nomination Committee, Education Committee, Conference Planning Committee and, recently, the Judicial Information System Committee.

Dan LeBeau

Dan LeBeau is Whitman County’s chief deputy prosecutor, where he has practiced law for his entire career. He started as an intern in 2005 and became a prosecutor a year later. LeBeau has judge experience, having sat on the bench in the Colton Municipal Court since June 2016. He graduated from the University of Idaho College of Law in 2006.


He said the position provides an opportunity to educate the public on the judicial system at a local level.

“As judge, you have a unique opportunity,” he said. “Especially in district court, because most people coming in there have never been there before, and a lot will never be there again.”

Along with using the court to educate people, LeBeau said he wants to visit area schools and work with kids to teach them about the legal process, and host civic programs to educate citizens in general.

“I think the judicial branch is the least understood branch of government,” he said, “and I think that would apply to most people who don’t work in law.”

LeBeau said he would like to work with the Clerk’s Office to switch to electronic formats for certain documents, such as warrants, to make the legal process more efficient.

LeBeau is the chair of the Neill Public Library Board of Trustees, has been a member of the Kid and Parent Success Board and was a recreational soccer coach.

Rob Rembert

Rob Rembert is a partner at the Irwin, Myklebust, Savage and Brown law firm in Pullman, where he has worked for over 20 years. He has also been a Whitman County District Court judge pro tem. Rembert graduated magna cum laude from his law class at Seattle University in 1996.


He said he views the judge seat as a way to help the community and ensure citizens have positive interactions with the court system.

“I see serving as district court judge as a way to give back to the community that has given me so much,” Rembert said.

He said district court is often the most important level of court for citizens, as it is where most people come into contact with the legal system for the first time.

“As a lawyer, that’s an important place,” he said, “and I think as a district court judge, I can make sure people have a fair experience and respect for the court system.”

Rembert has served as president of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce Board, director of the Pullman Education Foundation, a Neill Public Library Board Trustee, and a Whitman County elected salary commissioner. He also serves as a Whitman County civil service commissioner.