Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Judge Rice hanging up the robe

Monroe County Circuit Court magistrate retiring Oct. 1

Monroe County Circuit Judge J. David Rice announced that he will retire on October 1.  Rice, 70, said that the timing of his retirement was dictated by completion of the Monroe County Justice Center complex.

Judge Rice has chaired the Monroe County Justice Center Building Committee for the last six years.  The new Justice Center contains a 180 bed jail, sheriff’s offices, four courtrooms and offices for judges and court reporters.  Judicial assistants, clerks of court, juvenile and probate clerks, district attorney’s offices, justice services, child support offices, county corporation counsel, and medical examiner will also occupy the new building.

Rice said he expects the building to be fully occupied by September 1.  The new complex will be dedicated at a ceremony which will take place on September 29  at 1 p.m.

Rice has served as Circuit Judge of Branch III for the last seven years.  He was re-elected without opposition a year ago.  Rice said that he ran for the second term because his work as Justice Center Committee Chair has been so demanding that he did not think it would be fair to pass the job on to someone else before the project was completed.

Rice said he has no particular plans for retirement other than to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

“They have always supported me in everything I have done, and I owe them, especially my wife, more of my time than I have been able to spend with them for the last 47 years,” He said.

During his career, Rice has been involved in public service for 34 years, including a stint as a law clerk for the Wisconsin Supreme Court, terms as Sparta City Attorney and Assistant City Attorney, nine years as a Sparta School Board member and president, and four years as a part-time United States Magistrate for the Federal Court in Madison.  Rice’s uncle, the late James W. Rice, served as a Monroe County judge for more than 30 years before he retired in 1995.

A replacement for Rice will be selected in the spring election in April 2018.  In the meantime, the Governor may appoint a temporary replacement.

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