I have been “retired” now for several weeks. I used quotation marks, as I have worked about half time since my official retirement date. Governor Dayton has not named a replacement for the judgeship chambered in Sibley County, and I have agreed to help out as I can until the new judge can take over. Also, I was assigned to a case in Dakota County that was to have been tried in March, but for several reasons, could not be until the end of July. So, I have been pretty busy, doing what I had been doing the last 26 years!
I am doing this work as a “Senior Judge”. When I retired, I applied to the Minnesota Supreme Court to continue to work on a temporary and an as-needed basis as a retired judge. The Chief Justice approved my application, and I am now on a list of senior judges statewide who may be called to help out when needed in a particular county.
There are several reasons why a Senior Judge may be needed: To fill in after a judge retires and a new one is appointed is the obvious one for me now. When I was working on the Supreme Court Technology Committee, helping with the computerized case management project in the late 90’s and into the ‘00’s, I was away from the bench for two or more days a week working on that project. A retired judge came in and served in Court in my place so that I could help out on that important project. Sometimes, a judge becomes quite ill and needs significant time away to recover. In those cases, a retired judge can fill in.
Rarely, there is a case that is so sensitive that all the judges in a district have a conflict. In those situations, a retired judge can be asked to handle a particular case.
I am happy to help out while I can, but am a little anxious to really find out what this retirement life is all about. I had submitted my notice of retirement to the Governor’s office well in advance, and was hopeful that my successor would be named prior to my official retirement date. But, I am not privy to the Governor’s schedule or his priorities, and I’m sure there are good reasons that my successor has not yet been named. However, I know I am not the only person who is anxious to find out who the new judge chambered in Sibley County will be!