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Retiring judge calls for change in retirement age

Newport News Circuit Judge H. Vincent Conway Jr. says he wishes he were not being forced to step down from the bench because of his age.

Conway has notified the Supreme Court of Virginia that his retirement will be effective Feb. 1 in accordance with the mandatory 70-year retirement age for state judges. He has been on the circuit bench since 1999 following 26 years of law practice.

“In many ways, I am not ready for this,” Conway wrote in a statement that accompanied his retirement notice.

“I wish this day could have been delayed and I can see the General Assembly providing for more flexibility in this area in the future,” Conway said. “The capabilities, performance level and ability to contribute of many judges are not diminished at this age, and it is a shame to waste the experience,” he wrote.

Conway said the current age limit was enacted when it was difficult to remove or discipline a judge, but judicial oversight has been improved.

Conway said he plans to sit as a substitute judge and participate in the judicial settlement program offered through the Supreme Court.

Legislation to increase the judicial retirement age has been introduced and defeated with regularity at the Virginia General Assembly.

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