Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 20, 2018

Peterson sworn in as District Court Judge Friday

Aug 06, 2018
Photo by: Grace King Judge Wyatt Peterson took the bench for the first time during his swearing-in ceremony on Friday, Aug. 3 at the Henry County Courthouse. Peterson teared up several times while thanking family, friends and colleagues for helping him reach the goal of district court judge.

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


Newly-appointed Judge Wyatt Peterson, of Winfield, was sworn in to the Judicial District 8B Friday, Aug. 3 at the Henry County Courthouse.

Tearing up as he took the bench for the first time, Peterson thanked family, friends and colleagues present in the courtroom, including other District Court judges and district associate judges.

“Since I was in elementary school basketball, I’ve known and learned the importance of being on a good team,” Peterson said. “This team of judges we have, court reporters and clerks … the 8th Judicial District is a great team to be a part of and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Judge Mary Ann Brown presided over the investiture ceremony, praising Peterson for his dedication to Iowa and his decision to stay home.

Brown said when she speaking at a graduation for Harmony High School a few years ago, she touched on how the graduates’ heritage will serve them in their futures. “Wyatt Peterson is living proof that the values and lessons of rural Iowa help produce honest, hardworking, smart, decent, dependable people,” she said.

Brown also thanked Peterson’s parents — Leon and Jean Peterson, who were present at the ceremony Friday — for their part in building the foundation of his character, judicial temperament and commitment to uphold the law.

Peterson got off to a shaky start, however, while working at his first law firm in 2003 at Aspelmeier, Fisch, Power, Engberg & Helling, P.L.C. in Burlington. Robert Engberg shared that the very first day Peterson joined his firm, they had a meeting at their conference table where Peterson proceeded to spill a full glass of water over the entire table and over most of the lawyers present.

Even as Engberg poked fun at the new judge, he praised his “quiet dignity, maturity and confidence,” saying Peterson is a person whose friendship Engberg is honored to share.

“Wyatt has been an exceptional colleague, talented opponent and continues to be a trusted member of the bar,” Engberg said. “I’ve personally observed how Wyatt treats all people whom he deals with the utmost degree of fairness and respect, regardless of their position and regardless of whether he was advocating for or against them.”

Peterson graduated from Iowa State University in 2000. He attended law school at Drake University. After practicing at Aspelmeier, Fisch, Power, Engberg & Helling, he worked as an assistant Washington County Attorney until 2010. From there, he opened the Peterson Law Firm in Winfield.

“A true, small town practice,” Brown said.

Peterson is selected for District 8B following Judge John Linn’s retirement in December, who Peterson shared was actually the first judge he had a court hearing in front of as a new attorney.

“I will always remember his patience,” Peterson said.

In closing, Peterson thanked the judges and lawyers he has been fortunate enough to work with who have helped prepare him for this position.

“I look forward to serving the state of Iowa and in particular the people of southeast Iowa,” Peterson said. “This is where I’m from. I love living here.”

Peterson was selected by Gov. Kim Reynolds on June 27 to serve on the Judicial District 8B.

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