Philip Heithecker sworn in as Butte County judge

Philip Heithecker sworn in as Butte County judge

CHICO — Butte County welcomed its newest judge, Philip Heithecker, to the bench with a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday at the Butte County Superior Courthouse in Chico.

Heithecker was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom to the position after Judge Robert Glusman’s retirement. He began working for the Butte County District Attorney’s Office in 1992. From 1996 until 2018, he worked with various law offices before becoming a sole practitioner in 2018. Heithecker has also headed the local public defenders.

The ceremony packed Courtroom 1 with nearly all Butte County judges and some from Glenn County as well as Heithecker’s family and officials such as District Attorney Mike Ramsey, Sheriff Kory Honea and Butte County Counsel Bruce Alpert.

Guest speakers included attorneys Eric Ortner and Mark Emmons, both of whom have worked with Heithecker throughout their careers, though sometimes at the opposite end of a case.

Judge Philip Heithecker speaks Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 next to a lectern he brought from the Butte County Superior Courthouse in Oroville during his swearing-in ceremony in Chico, California. (Jake Hutchison/Enterprise-Record)

Emmons, a deputy district attorney, has prosecuted cases in which Heithecker was the defense attorney and shared stories and wisdom the two shared over their years working together.

“You value honesty, integrity and the Constitution, not just of the state of California, but the United States and I’ve never doubted that in my time with you,” Emmons said to Heithecker during the event. “It was an honor that you asked me to speak. I truly mean that. It’s been an honor to be able to call you a mentor and to be able to call you a friend. I’m a bit sad that this is the last time I will be able to call you a colleague as a lawyer, but I am looking forward to appearing in front of you.”

Ortner has worked beside Heithecker as defenders over the years.

“I personally have a sense of joy in terms of seeing him take this step, even though it hurts me in terms of not having that interaction that we’ve had in the past many years,” Ortner said.

Judge Tamara Mosbarger swore Heithhecker at the ceremony and said she was glad to have him on the bench going forward.

Rather than using the lectern set up and used by the other speakers, Heithecker opted for a more symbolic gesture by bringing along the one he’s used so many times at the courthouse in Oroville. Heithecker shared stories and thanked each individual person who showed up for the ceremony.

The presentation of the robe was handled by Heithecker’s wife, Jodi Heithhecker.

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