Judy Abbott is many things — fearless, blunt, honest, a tireless worker and advocate for the juvenile justice system.
Abbott announced Wednesday she is leaving the Adams County State’s Attorney’s office to teach at Culver-Stockton College. Her boss, Jon Barnard, said his loss is Culver’s gain.
Abbott didn’t like media attention and preferred to run under the radar. That suited her perfectly in juvenile court, where names of underage offenders are kept from being published.
But she never shied way from tough cases or answering tough questions when juvenile cases were newsworthy.
A few months ago, a defense attorney for a juvenile client became irate when a reporter entered the courtroom. By law, media members are allowed to attend juvenile proceedings, but this attorney didn’t know the law and put on quite a show for his client and client’s family, bellowing that the reporter should be removed.
After the judge listened to the attorney at the beginning of the hearing, he asked Abbott what she thought.
"Your honor," Abbott said, "(he) has the right to be here."
That was it. No grandstanding, no theatrics, no responding to childish antics from the defense attorney. The judge agreed, shot down the defense attorney’s motion to have the reporter removed, and the hearing continued.
Abbott will be missed. She is engaging and passionate about the law. She believed in what she was doing and has a deadly sense of humor, an important trait doing the most thankless and daunting of jobs.