Judge Jerry Hodson

Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge Jerry Hodson

If someone told you that living in Oregon was like being on vacation, would you believe it? If that someone was Judge Hodson, you might. An Arizona native, he says that he moved to Oregon about 20 years ago, in part because it reminded him of family vacations to places where it rained a lot. Thus, viewed positively, living in Oregon is like being on a vacation. Coming from Judge Hodson, this sounded not only believable but reasonable. He brings that same enthusiasm and energy to his judicial position, one he still has a hard time believing happened to him.

The adventure of becoming a judge was a childhood dream that happened far sooner than he ever thought it would. Judge Hodson moved to Oregon from Los Angeles where he completed his law degree at UCLA. He worked in private practice as a civil trial lawyer, principally in the areas of business and commercial litigation. The demands of that practice pushed aside his childhood dream for a long time. After settling into a productive practice, the judge idea resurfaced and he decided the time was right to pursue his dream. After nearly two years on the bench, he reports that the job has been extremely satisfying. Being a public servant has rewards that go far beyond any monetary compensation. He enjoys the fast pace of the Multnomah County Courthouse and the wide variety of civil and criminal trials and hearings that take place on a daily basis. He loves studying the law and deciding how it should apply in a given case. And coming from a civil background, he has enjoyed the challenge of learning the workings of the criminal justice system.

Judge Hodson's enthusiasm and inquisitiveness is easily noticed. As a lawyer, he believed if you do not know an answer you should ask a question. Judge Hodson continues to do so in his job as a judge. He asks questions not only of his fellow judges but also the lawyers appearing before him. Judge Hodson reported that he learned two important things in response to all his questioning: First, the willingness of the other judges to share experiences, especially in areas with which he is not too familiar, is better than he could have hoped. Second, he appreciates the candor and the patience of the lawyers. He believes that a lawyer's candor and willingness to get to the issues is very important.

Family time and physical activity are very important to the Hodsons. Judge Hodson said he loves to run, bike, hike and travel with his family. He and his three sons have been encouraged to remain physically active by his wife of 22 years, Diane, who is a personal trainer and Pilates instructor. The Hodsons have hiked, camped, or traveled in many of the national parks and wilderness areas in the western United States. No matter where they travel they always end up comparing it to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to spending time with his family, Judge Hodson has devoted significant time to youth-oriented activities through his church, schools and community groups.

Originally authored by Michael Merchant and printed in the January 2006 Multnomah Lawyer
Updated for the Internet in 2012