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Millette to retire from Va. Supreme Court

Virginia Supreme Court LeRoy Millette, Jr.,  in the court chambers (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Virginia Supreme Court Justice LeRoy Millette Jr., in the court chambers (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Supreme Court Justice LeRoy F. Millette Jr. says he will retire this summer, in large part to spend more time with a growing family.

Millette said he will retire on July 31. He plans to continue to serve as a senior justice.

Millette, who turns 66 this year, said he wants “a little bit more flexibility and time.”

“This job is such a full-time job, plus some,” he said.

A new crop of grandchildren now competes for his attention, he said.

Millette has served for 25 years as a judge on all four levels of the judiciary, beginning with Prince William County General District Court.

He formerly was a law firm associate and partner, a sole practitioner and a state prosecutor. He has served as a substitute judge,a special justice and as a circuit judge representative on the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission.

He was named to the district court bench in 1990 and to the circuit court in 1993. On the circuit bench he presided over the capital murder trial of sniper John Muhammad.

“Being on the Supreme Court to me is an opportunity to put together everything I ever learned as a law student, attorney and a judge,” Millette said. “It’s really a tremendous opportunity to put everything together to try to move the law along.”

Millette was twice appointed to appellate seats by former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, first to the Court of Appeals in 2007 and to the Supreme Court in 2008. He then was confirmed by the General Assembly to a 12-year term.

The timing of his retirement provides an opportunity for Gov. Terry McAuliffe to appoint his successor. A McAuliffe spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry about procedures for considering candidates.

“I want to thank Justice LeRoy Millette Jr. for his lifetime of faithful service to the people of this Commonwealth,” McAuliffe said in a prepared statement. “Judges play an indispensable role in the preservation of a fair and prosperous society, and Justice Millette has upheld that standard at every level of the justice system throughout his career. I wish him the very best in his retirement,” McAuliffe said.

Millette received his undergraduate degree and his JD from the College of William & Mary. He moved to Williamsburg from Prince William County four years ago.

Updated April 28 with comment from Millette and statement from McAuliffe.

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