MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — On his final day of work as 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge, Chris Wilkes said he is keeping retirement simple.
The 23rd judicial circuit serves Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties.
“I’ll do probably a little more reading time,” said Wilkes on MetroNews affiliate WEPM’s “Panhandle Live”. “I think I’ll find that I can sit in the afternoon and read a novel and not feel guilty. The greatest thing is I’ll be able to spend more time with my wife, my grandkids, have a little bit less stress (and) more enjoyment time. Because they’ve been great to me.”
Wilkes has served the eastern panhandle for 26 years. He submitted a letter to Gov. Jim Justice in December.
“Judge Wilkes has long been dedicated to building West Virginia’s Business Court Division into a model program,” said Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret Workman said in a previous news release. “His most recent ABA (American Bar Association) appointments demonstrate that his hard work is paying off with national recognition for him and our judiciary.”
Wilkes picked up 13 percent of the vote in the Supreme Court Division 1 race in the November 2016 General Election. He received nearly 66,000 votes.
“I’m excited. I’ve been able to fulfill probably what is the greatest, most fulfilling legal job that somebody could have. I’m so grateful to the citizens of the eastern panhandle. They have returned me to office so much and given me the opportunity to do what I really enjoy doing.”
While Wilkes said Thursday while he plans to take more time for himself and family, he won’t stay completely out of the judicial system.
“Well, tomorrow (Friday) I’ll go into the courthouse because I’ve been assigned senior status until my replacement takes office. So I’ll continue working it’s just the administrative duties and those other aspects I no longer have.”
Although Wilkes is putting down the gavel after serving four eight-year terms, he hopes to continue working in the state’s Business Court system. He serves as chair of that court.