Samuel Hoagland, husband, father of four, grandfather of three, pharmacist and veteran Idaho attorney, became the Honorable Samuel Hoagland in the late afternoon on Jan. 2, as he was sworn into office and fitted into a black robe in the presence of the judiciary of the 4th Judicial District for the State of Idaho.
As his family photo album was flashed on a large screen, showing a young Hoagland with shoulder-length hair mature into a salt-and-pepper bearded grandpa, members of Hoagland's clan and dozens of friends filed into the commissioners meeting room at the Ada County Courthouse to witness retiring 4th Judicial District Judge Michael Wetherell administer the oath of office.
4th Judicial District Magistrate Judge George Hicks (who was also Hoagland's former law partner) emceed the event, which included comments from family and colleagues. Former Idaho Attorney General David Leroy, who served as chairman of Hoagland's campaign committee, praised the new judge for "having the two traits necessary for a district court judge: competence and character" necessary to master what Leroy said was "an exacting and difficult profession."
Hoagland joked that he learned that he was not a politician during a grueling election season
, which culminated in his November win over challenger Rebecca Arnold. The race was so close that the local daily newspaper went to press saying Arnold had defeated Hoagland. But as late returns trickled in, Hoagland secured the win to become Idaho's newest judge.
"I guess I had my own 'Dewey Defeats Truman' moment," said Hoagland, referring to a 1948 Chicago Tribune
headline that incorrectly declared Thomas Dewey had defeated President Harry Truman.
After Wetherell had sworn in Hoagland and the new justice slid into a black robe with the assistance of his wife, Kari, Hoagland told the gathering, "I'll do the best I can. So help me, God."