ELLSWORTH— Joseph Boles is retiring after serving as Pierce County Circuit Court judge for 10 years.

"I’m 68, I’ll be 69 in February. You know, I'm getting a little tired. I can tell it’s time. I can tell it's time for, you know, for the next person to come in and you know my wife's ready for me to retire," he said.

While Boles is stepping away from the courtroom there are aspects of the job that he will miss. He explained, “there are two parts that I just love about this job. The first one is treatment courts.”

Boles said of participants in the court, “slowly but surely, many of them really change, their life of sobriety and recovery and relationships get better. They're better parents, they're better spouses, they're better employees, and they become successful. When we see that it's just, that's a joy. It's a joy to work with those folks. And it's a joy to see them be successful, and get out of a life of misery, to a life that is normal, and has at least their share of happiness.”

The other aspect of the job that Boles most enjoyed was the time that he was able to speak with defendants before sentencing.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

“The p

Joe Boles
Joe Boles
rosecutor makes their recommendation, the defense counsel makes their recommendation. And then the defendant gets a chance to talk and tell me what he or she thinks what they want. And that moment for me, when I get a chance to chat, just talk with the defendant, and try to just get a little insight into what they are and what issues they have, and what they might need help with and try to figure out a way to give them some hope, and some encouragement to do what they would need to do to change, to not have to come back to the criminal justice system, to get the help they need to lead a better life and be happier," he said.

Boles and his office are working to make the transition for the next circuit court judge go well. But the judge admitted that he thinks there is too much work in Pierce County for one person to handle.

“We really need a second judge,” said Boles, adding, “We're not going to get a new judge until we have a court facility that will accommodate two judges. And so, either the County Board would have to remodel this building ... or build a new facility.”

Boles made sure to explain that while he is the only judge in Pierce County, he works with a team of people to do his job:

“We really have some excellent people here in Pierce County, doing really important jobs you know from my court reporter and judicial assistant to the clerk of court, and that whole staff, the probate office. You know, all of those folks that work directly with me on these cases.”