Printed on: September 15, 2012

New Fremont Co. judge named

By Ruth Brown

Remembering to see both sides of the case is a quality Gil Gardner views as one of the most important in a judge.

The Seventh Judicial District Magistrates Commission selected Gardner as the new Fremont County magistrate judge Friday. Gardner will fill the vacancy left by Judge Keith Walker. He will take his oath Jan. 2.

Walker served 21 years as a magistrate judge in Fremont County.

"I've wanted to be a magistrate judge for a long time and I feel like I have a good sense of fairness," said Gardner, 59. "I hope to let people know they can feel heard and I will listen and evaluate fairly."

Magistrate judges have jurisdiction over issues such as misdemeanor crimes and infractions, divorces, small claims and they cover felony crimes through the preliminary stage.

Gardner has been chief deputy prosecutor in Fremont County since 2009. He was a public defender in Bonneville County from 1993 to 2002. He served as chief deputy prosecutor in Bonneville County from1983 to 1992.

He stopped practicing law for a short time and owned Idaho Title & Trust in Idaho Falls, but has since sold the business and was working for the Fremont County Prosecutor's Office.

Gardner grew up in Idaho Falls and attended Skyline High School until his family moved to Honolulu. He received a bachelor's degree in accounting from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, in 1977. He earned a law degree from the University of Idaho Law School in 1981.

He moved to Idaho Falls in 1983, where he and his wife, Rhonda, raised six children. They now have nine grandchildren.

Upon appointment, magistrate judges serve an 18-month probation, after which, they stand for retention election in the county they are seated. If retained, Gardner will serve a four-year term.

"I hope to remember that you can't always rule on passion, but (it must be) on what the law is and its precedent," Gardner said.

Ruth Brown can be reached at 542-6750. Follow on Twitter: @ruthbrown1. Comment on this story on Post Talk at