By Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Today is the final day in office for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille. Though he was elected to another ten-year term just last January, he’s required to step down because he turned 70 this year.
Justice Castille calculates 43 years in public service: first as a marine in Vietnam, where he lost a leg, then 20 years as Philadelphia District Attorney, and 21 as a Justice, including 8 as Chief Justice.
“I’m thankful to be working on behalf of the citizens to try to apply the law fairly and across the board, and make Pennsylvania a better place to be,” he says.
His tenure has been tumultuous — with two justices indicted, one forced to resign, scandal and disorder in Philadelphia courts that required a reorganization, but the worst moment, says Castille, was the kids for cash scandal in Luzerne County. “2,401 kids appeared in front of these judges and did not receive justice,” he said.
Castille says he’s proud of the new operating procedures and judicial conduct code he’s established and 450 majority opinions.
“I would like to continue my service, but the state constitution requires you to retire,” Castille says. In his 21 years, Castille says he’s tried to elevate the court and make it run more efficiently. “We’re very up to date, very efficient now, and I hope it keeps up after I’m gone.”
Castille says he’ll continue to serve with the American Bar Association and veterans groups. But first, “I’m going to go to Florida and go fishing.”
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