Benton County District Court Judge Eugene Pratt Retires After Nearly 30 Years - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Benton County District Court Judge Eugene Pratt Retires After Nearly 30 Years

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KENNEWICK, Wash.-- He is described by his colleagues as an icon.

"He's such a wonderful person and a wonderful judge, for me personally he's been a good mentor," said Commissioner Joseph Burrowes, Benton County District Court Commissioner.

Also as a man with big shoes to fill.

"He is so down to earth, he is so grounded in his philosophies, and his opinions in the law, he just instills that in everybody, he brings you back to reality," said Presiding Judge Holly Hollenbeck.

But soon Judge Eugene Pratt will be hanging the robe for good.

"It's been great, I can't imagine a better job," said Pratt.

"I've enjoyed working with the other judges, and our staff, they've been great," said Pratt.

A farm boy from Eastern Oregon and a Vietman vet, Pratt first served as Richland Municipal Court Judge in 1979 and moved to District Court in 1984.

"We had a little bitty office and the clerk's office was right there, and we were kind of on top of each other, and I had to walk in and out through the very people that I was hearing their cases, sometimes they would be angry and I would have to walk right through the middle of them, it was a really awful security situation," said Pratt.

Of course now things have changed, but Judge Pratt says some things always stay the same.

" A lot of times there are some unique, sometimes funny scenarios, but by and large they're routine," said Pratt.

But there's always room for the lighter days.

"'I've done with a few weddings, I've done 160 this year, normally I average about 150 weddings a year, that's the fun part," said Pratt.

So what's in store for Pratt after District Court?

"My wife and I have already been accepted into a ministry school in Pennsylvania," said

It's so long for now, but not forever.

"We're going to sell our house pay our bills, and we're out of here, this will be our base, because two of our kids are here," said Pratt.