MORGANTOWN – Monongalia Circuit Judge Russell M. Clawges Jr. is retiring next month.
Clawges, who will turn 69 on Jan. 30, announced his retirement effective Jan. 31.
“It’s just time," Clawges said. "I’ve got 22 years in. I am way past 65. It’s time to do something else.”
Clawges has asked the Supreme Court to make him a senior status judge and allow him to stay on the bench in the 17th Circuit (Monongalia County) until his replacement is appointed by Gov. Jim Justice. The Court will decide on those issues in January.
Clawges said he also plans to continue as an adjunct faculty member in the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program at West Virginia University and in the Trial Advocacy Program at the West Virginia University College of Law.
“I look forward to being able to spend some time on my golf game," he said. "I’ve got grandkids that I would like to see more often."
Clawges was appointed as a judge in 1997 by former Gov. Gaston Caperton. He was elected in 1998 and re-elected in 2000, 2008, and 2016.
Clawges was born in Morgantown and graduated from Morgantown High School in 1967. He has a 1971 bachelor’s degree in mathematics from West Virginia University and a 1974 law degree from West Virginia University College of Law, where he graduated Order of the Coif.
He served four years in the JAG Department of the United States Air Force. In 1978 he returned to Morgantown, where he practiced law with the firm of Furbee, Amos, Webb & Critchfield until his appointment to the bench.
Clawges was active in the implementation of West Virginia's first Teen Court program and participated in the West Virginia State Bar's annual Bridge the Gap program for new lawyers. He was president of the West Virginia Judicial Association and is chairman of its judicial education committee and law clerk education committee.
He is an ASTAR Science and Technology Fellow and a frequent presenter at continuing education programs. He was named a 2013 Bar Foundation Fellow.
He has two daughters and seven grandchildren.