Basden ready to hear cases

A Port Angeles lawyer will move to the other side of the bench at Clallam County Superior Court in April.

W. Brent Basden will take office as Clallam County Family Court commissioner April 1 following retirement of William Knebes, the longtime and first Family Court commissioner.

"I am particularly proud of our unified Family Court, which we began in 1991," Knebes wrote in his retirement announcement. "One of my deepest regrets is the loss of professional camaraderie that I have experienced working with two, now three, dedicated, caring judges who I consider close friends."

Knebes was appointed to the position when the county began its unified Family Court program.

In Family Court, all matters involving families are heard by one judicial officer. The Family Court program has been very successful and has served as a model for other counties, which have implemented similar programs.

During his 17 years in the position, Knebes heard family law motions, dependency matters, juvenile delinquency issues, truancy cases, domestic violence matters and settlement conferences in domestic relations, to name a few.

Now Basden, who was born and grew up in Port Angeles, will take the reins. He ran for the newly created Superior Court judge position last fall, taking second in a four-candidate primary that named Brooke Taylor to the bench.

Basden is a Port Angeles High School and Brigham Young University graduate. He earned his law degree from J. Reuben Clark Law School at BYU. He has been married to his wife, Charline, for 16 years and they have seven children.

Basden has been in private practice in Port Angeles since his graduation from law school in 1994. Much of Basden's private law practice revolved around family court issues, a qualifier for him being hired to the position. In addition to Family Court issues, the commissioner position presides over the county's new Family Therapeutic Court for families involved with the state of Washington Division of Children and Family Services, which is modeled after the county's successful Drug Court program.

"I'm excited. I look forward to working in this area of law, which is where I've focused my practice over the last 14 years," Basden said. "There have been a lot of people working on the new Therapeutic Court and I look forward to working with them on making it the best it can be to serve the public that can benefit from this alternative."

He serves on the Pro Bono Lawyers board of directors, was the Clallam County Bar Association president in 2006 and has served as a pro tem Superior Court commissioner since 2006.

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