January 21, 2011 4pm by Julie Montanaro
The second circuit's newest judge was sworn in this afternoon and will have to dive right in to one of the court's busiest dockets.
Hunderds of people turned out to welcome Karen Gievers to the bench and juvenile delinquents will be among the first to see her in action.
Karen Gievers will be asking defendants and witnesses to raise their right hand for years to come but Friday, it was Gievers' turn to raise her right hand and take the oath of office.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Major Harding did the honors and Gievers's mother and husband then put a black robe around her shoulders.
"This is a wonderful next opportunity for me. I really appreciate it and I'm going to be doing absolutely the best job I can," Gievers said.
The attorney of 32 years, who made a name for herself in child advocacy, beat out four other candidates for this seat on the bench.
"It's a wonderful feeling on some levels, but it is a sobering feeling as well, because I am the one that's basically the last person that folks will hear from about their case and it's important that I get it right the first time," Gievers said.
Gievers first assignment out of the judicial gate? Domestic violence, probate, guardianship and juvenile delinquency. Getting through to those teens and getting them back on track, she says, is paramount.
"I mean business. I don't want to be your worst nightmare, but I want you understanding that there are going to be consequences if you don't do things correctly," Gievers said.
Gievers can expect to handle more than four thousand cases a year, court administrators say.
Gievers is married, with six children, 10 grandchildren and two great grands, many of whom were in court Friday afternoon to see her celebrate this milestone in her legal career.
Gievers has been on the bench since January 4th, but today's investiture is her official welcoming ceremony.
Gievers may be the newest judge in the circuit, but she is certainly not the only new face on the bench. Court administrators say there have been 11 new judges elected or appointed in the past two years. That's a turnover rate of 42%, Court Administrator Grant Slayden said.