BRADENTON -- It was a dream 10 years in the making as Brian Iten took his oath of office as circuit judge on Friday in front of family, friends, colleagues and members of the local legal and law enforcement community.
Iten stood in the same room where in 1994 he was sworn in as an attorney, humbled at his life's journey and those who helped him get to where he is today.
He quoted Florida Supreme Court Chief Judge Jorge Labarga: "As a judge you can do so much good."
"That's the goal," Iten said. "It is my hope and prayer that in these coming years I can do so much good."
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Iten, of Parrish, served as assistant state attorney for the 12th Circuit State Attorney's Office since 1994. He began serving on the bench on Dec. 2 in the Circuit Civil Division in Sarasota. He was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to fill a vacancy left by a retiring judge.
"It's been a long, long journey, Iten said. "There many, many people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude."
He began with his father, pausing, as his emotions came through.
"He taught me the value of hard work," Iten said. "You showed me by example how important it was to be well-rounded."
He went on to thank his mother, brother Doug, in-laws, children Amelia and David, each with a heartfelt message.
"And Liz, my wife, you have faith in me like no one else, from the time I submitted my first judicial application nearly ten years ago and every subsequent submission," Iten said. "And I know with absolute certainty I wouldn't be here today, but for you.
Those gathered in the standing-room only historic courtroom were a testament of Iten's service to the state attorney's office, the victims of crime and law enforcement, State Attorney Ed Brodsky said.
"But he also served our community for 21 years, he did it with great distinction," Brodsky said. "And he always did it ethically, professionally and with strict adherence to the law. I know he will continue to maintain that same commitment as he takes the bench as circuit judge."
Circuit Judge Janette Dunnigan administered the oath of office to Iten, followed by a warm embrace and big smiles. Afterwards, his wife Liz and son David, officially robed Iten. After hugging them, he called up his daughter so he could give her a big hug too.
Iten is also an adjunct instructor at State College of Florida and instructor at the Law Enforcement Academy at Manatee Technical College.
In 2014, Iten was honored with the Jim Slater Award for Professionalism in the Practice of Criminal Law. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida and his law degree from Florida State University College of Law.
Among those who sung Iten's praises was Assistant State Attorney Bruce Lee, saying it had been both a pleasure and a privilege to work with Iten.
"No one is more deserving," Lee said.
Jessica De Leon, Herald law enforcement reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7049. You can follow her on Twitter@JDeLeon1012.