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Hassell to step down as chief

Virginia Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell Sr. told the annual meeting of state court judges today that he will step down after two four-year terms as head of the judicial branch.

The announcement came during the chief justice’s annual State of the Judiciary address at the meeting in Norfolk.

Hassell said there was an understanding eight years ago when he became the first chief justice to be selected by his colleagues that he would serve no more than two terms. Previously, the senior member of the court in terms of service had been chief.

In the past, the court has selected the chief at its August retreat. The term begins Feb. 1.

Hassell did not mention his health as being a factor in his decision, but he was seriously ill with an infection last August and September and has been slow to regain his full strength.

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By Alan Cooper

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