Fayetteville attorney Cristi Beaumont became the new drug court judge this week, attending a robing ceremony Thursday at the historic Washington County Court House.
Beaumont took the bench on New Year's Day, but at the robing ceremony Thursday (Jan. 3), Washington County Circuit Judge William Storey swore her in.
Among those joining Beaumont at the ceremony were her husband, Tim Snively, and daughters Megan and Ella.
"It was truly amazing to see so many friends and family there," she said.
Beaumont defeated Springdale attorney Bob Lambert in a Nov. 6 runoff election to become the judge for the 4th Circuit Court, Division 4.
That judge mostly oversees civil and family cases, but about 15 percent of the duties include presiding over the Drug/Workforce Diversion Court in Washington and Madison counties.
The drug court, popularized by former Judge Mary Ann Gunn, helps nonviolent offenders overcome drug addictions in Northwest Arkansas.
The seat has been held since June 2011 by G. Chadd Mason, who was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe after Gunn stepped down to start a television show.
Beaumont has said she wants to implement a drug court at night to help those in the program hold down their jobs.
“I want to make it easy on them to keep a job, so if it`s a hardship on them to have to come to court, then the team and I have absolutely no problem staying late so they can keep their job and help support their family,” she said.
Beaumont will fulfill the remainder of Gunn’s term, which is two years.