Pubdate: Mon, 31 Mar 2008
Source: Olympian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2008 The Olympian


Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Strophy  surprised many
in the community Tuesday with his  announcement that he will retire at
the end of his term  in January. Strophy leaves after 37 years of
outstanding public service.

Strophy, 63, who started his legal career in Thurston  County as a
prosecutor, has served for the past 25  years as a judge in District
Court, then Superior  Court.

While commendations will be forthcoming as he nears  retirement, there
is no argument that Strophy's primary  contribution -- one that will
last long after he has  left the bench -- is the pivotal role he
played in  launching Thurston County's highly effective Drug  Court.

Strophy was an early advocate for the program that  relies on the
prosecutor, judge, defense attorney and  treatment providers working
together to help the  criminal defendant succeed. The track record is
phenomenal. Since Drug Court started in 1998, there  have been 277
graduates, and "less than 10 percent of  them have been re-arrested
for criminal offenses,"  Strophy said. The recidivism rate in this
state is four  times higher.

Strophy, the senior jurist on the Thurston County  bench, deserves a
large part of the praise for the  success of Drug Court because he has
been the primary  Drug Court judge since its inception.

Known for his honesty, intellect and fairness, Strophy  has earned a
spot alongside a growing list of  outstanding local jurists that
includes Robert Doran,  Gerry Alexander (now chief justice of the
state Supreme  Court), Hewitt Henry, Frank Baker and Dan Berschauer.

Judge Strophy will be missed but has earned a  joy-filled retirement.
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