Commonwealth Journal

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July 18, 2013

Maguire reflects on nearly three decades on the bench

Somerset —

A recently retired Family Court and District Court judge looks back on his career with a measure of disappointment because of his inability to help more people.
  Walter F. Maguire, district judge in the 28th Judicial Circuit (Pulaski and Rockcastle counties) for more than 22 years and Family Court judge in Pulaski, Rockcastle and Lincoln counties for the past six and a half years admits to being tired at age 70 after many, many 12-hour days in the courtroom.
Maguire’s retirement was effective at the end of the day June 30. His successor has not been named but will be selected through a committee process and appointment by Gov. Steve Beshear.
  As a Family Court judge who has presided over hundreds of family breakups, Maguire said drug addiction and over-dependence on government programs are, in his opinion, the cause of most family problems. He said too many families fail to nurture, support and prepare their children for life.
  “I really wanted to help more people ... I tried,” said Maguire.  “We have a cultural problem ... many people don’t have the highest expectations for themselves.”
  Maguire said his caseload was burdensome. “I averaged about 2,700 cases a year.” He said sometimes it would take up to a year to settle a case. Family Court for the three counties in his circuit had the largest caseload of any Family Court in the state in fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012 and the next to highest caseload in fiscal years 2007, 2008 and 2009.
  “I  wrote the chief justice (of the Kentucky Supreme Court) and the governor trying to get another judge appointed ... but there was no money,” said Maguire.
  Through all the long years, Maguire, despite disappointments, apparently got along well with his clientele.
  “I was threatened a couple of times while I was district judge, but I don’t remember being threatened while serving as Family Court judge,” he laughed.

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