Thursday, February 13, 2014

26th Anniversary

This week marks the 26th anniversary of taking the oath of office to serve the people of Sibley County, the First Judicial District and the State of Minnesota as a District Court Judge.  Paraphrasing my first law partner, mentor and friend Everett Young, 26 years seems like a very long time when you’re looking ahead to it.  When you look back on it, however, it seems like it has just flown by.  So it is with me.

So many changes!  From typewriters and paper telephone messages to computers, e-mail and voicemail. 

I have had the chance to work with extraordinary people during my service as judge.

I have worked in Sibley County with three excellent Court Administrators (Cheryl Dummer, Nancy Harms and Karen Messner) as well as the most excellent Deputy Court Administrators.  I have had 16 different staff attorneys, or law clerks, assisting me with legal research and serving as a sounding board for the decisions I’ve made as judge.  And I have worked with two terrific court reporters (Jerry Goodroad for the first 24 years and Paul Lyndgaard for our last two years).

I’ve spent a lot of time in the car.  I’m approaching 250,000 miles driven on official business over the past 26 years. 

I have noticed some changes over the years.  Types of cases that I was able to decide and move on 20 years ago are sticking with me more.  I have commented (and written in this blog) about my blessing and curse:  I forget the case as soon as I’ve finished with it.  While that is generally true, cases where children are being hurt (or worse, hurt children are hurting other children) stick with me.  I know I have to decide, but with these cases, there always is a level of uncertainty and the decision I make is not so easily forgotten.

This week, I have sent my formal letter to the Governor, advising him that I will retire at the close of business on July 10, 2014.

If you run into me with my Smartphone, I can show you, to the second, how many days, hours, minutes and seconds are left before I retire.  One person I showed that to said, “Boy, you must really hate your job!”  No, I love my job.  This is one of the ways that I am getting ready to leave a career that has truly been a blessing to me. 

But, come July 10, I’m pretty sure I’ll be ready!

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Next Week:  Child Pornography Victim Statement