LEWISBURG – Circuit Judge Jim Rowe is retiring, effective at the end of February.
Rowe is chief judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit that includes Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties. He also has ran for the state Supreme Court twice.
His letter to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin says he plans to retire on Feb. 29 contingent upon his retirement benefits being certified.
“I am deeply grateful to the people of Pocahontas and Greenbrier counties for having afforded me the opportunity and the honor to serve as judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit since January 3, 1997,” Rowe wrote in his letter dated Feb. 1.
In his letter to state Supreme Court Chief Justice Menis Ketchum, Rowe says he wants to continue to be involved in the court system as a Senior Status Judge and to remain on the Business Court Division.
Rowe didn’t file to run for re-election, of course. But two candidates have filed for the non-partisan race. They are Greenbrier County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Dent and Charleston attorney Fred John Giggenbach Jr.
In the other judicial race in that circuit, sitting Judge Robert Richardson is running for re-election. The three running against him are Lewisburg attorneys Steve Hunter, Brent Ludwig and Jeffrey S. Rodgers.
Rowe has been a circuit judge since Gov. Gaston Caperton appointed him in 1997. He was elected to serve an unexpired term in 1998 and re-elected in 2000 and 2008. Before that, Rowe served four terms in the House of Delegates, acting as Judiciary Committee chairman and House Majority Leader.
In 2004, he ran in the Democratic primary for state Supreme Court, but lost to Warren McGraw. In 2012, he also lost in the Democratic primary for the state Supreme Court to incumbent Justice Robin Jean Davis and Tish Chafin.