One of Pierce County’s most respected judges retires

One of Pierce County’s longest serving and most well-respected judges has retired.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Felnagle’s last day in court was Friday.

Appointed to a vacate seat on the bench by Gov. Booth Gardner in 1991, Felnagle was consistently ranked as one of the county’s top judges in surveys commissioned by the local bar association and The News Tribune.

Attorneys who practiced in his courtroom lauded his knowledge of the law, fairness and respect for the parties who appeared before him.

“I have always, win or lose, felt I received a fair hearing,” one lawyer told The News Tribune about Felnagle in 2012. “I do not always agree with his rulings, but I represent clients and I’m biased. He isn’t.”

Felnagle, 66, worked as Gardner’s legal counsel at the time of his appointed to the bench. He previously worked as Pierce County’s chief criminal deputy prosecutor and in private practice.