WHEELING - Ohio County Circuit Judge Arthur Recht plans to retire from his current position Jan. 31, but he hopes to continue to preside where needed in courtrooms across the state.
Recht submitted a letter Nov. 1 announcing his retirement plans to then-acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret L. Workman. He will, however, seek appointment from the Supreme Court as a senior status judge.
If Recht is granted that status, he will oversee court proceedings, as needed, in judicial circuits throughout West Virginia. Senior status judges can be asked to preside over a case for a number of reasons, such as the recusal of an active judge or a bursting case load.
"I just want to cut back," said Recht, who will turn 74 years old in February. "This will let me stay in as a judge, but not take the same case load as an active judge."
Recht, who has been on the bench for nearly 20 years, was appointed to the 1st Judicial Circuit in 1981. He returned to private practice two years later before serving as a state Supreme Court justice in 1995-96, then ultimately returned to Ohio County.
"This is the best job in the world. I love it," he said.
Tomblin will appoint Recht's successor at a later date. That individual will serve until the next general election, when they can seek to maintain their position on the bench.
Recht said he and his wife, Karen, will continue to reside in Wheeling following his retirement.